As we celebrate the birth of Christ, what type of Christ follower do you want to be?
Jesus stood up and defended others but allowed himself to be falsely accused, ridiculed, beaten, and eventually killed, because he knew it was God’s will. Jesus was raised from the dead, and when we place our lives in his, we too will be raised to life. We can act like Jesus, or we can act in our flesh.
Jesus was a Person of Sacrifice
In today’s world it is unpopular to be submissive. It is frowned upon. The consensus is we should be strong and fight. Jesus did not do that. He laid down His life for others. He allowed Himself to be falsely accused, ridiculed, beaten, and eventually killed, because he knew it was God’s will. Jesus stood up and defended others but allowed Himself to be debased. Because Jesus, the Son of God, who was the exact representation of God, gave up His life when he was innocent, we are forgiven of every one of our sins. He was raised from the dead, and when we place our lives in His, we too will be raised to life. We become born again spiritually now, and when our body dies our soul resurrects to be with Him.
Triggered to Trusting
Having come from a “fight” culture, a life of sacrifice is personally difficult for me at times. I grew up in the inner city of Philadelphia. There I learned that if you did not fight you were beaten up. You could run home, but eventually when you went out you would get beat up if you were perceived as a coward. I fought with a kid over my homework. I fought girls when they teased me. I fought someone teasing my sister. It was a fight culture. It was dysfunctional, but that was the way it was.
I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ at the age of 23. I turned from my life of sin and selfishness, and I gave my heart and soul to Jesus Christ. In return He gave me peace, forgiveness, and joy I never had.
However, I have learned that Jesus requires us to live a life of sacrifice as well. How do we do that if we are taught to live for ourselves and fight every step of the way? For me, I mess up at times. I have no trouble standing up for others, and that is the right thing. But how do I act like Jesus, give up my own rights, and live a life of sacrifice? At times, I get triggered instead of trusting Him. Let me give you a few examples. This happens when a student is blatantly disrespectful or mocks me in front of the class. This is not abnormal as a high school teacher (can I get an amen?) Or I feel when I receive a nasty text from someone. Or when someone says something cutting. These things trigger me, and the Philly girl rages inside. I answer back and the temptation arises to verbally put them in their place. When someone acts unchristian, I am triggered to act unchristian. How can we rise above and act like Jesus when we are personally attacked? When we are triggered, it is like we stand at a precipice. We can act like Jesus, or we can act in our flesh. I have failed at this at times, but I have learned the following.
What to Do When Triggered
That means say nothing and walk away. Let your words be as few as possible. Go to a place of quietness and be still before the Holy Spirit. “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.” (NIV, Proverbs 17:27)
Pray and ask God
Pray with the right attitude and perspective. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
Ask God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
Do not do anything. Do not talk, do not respond. Just wait. Allow your feelings to subside. Wait before the Lord. “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:7)
Apply the Scriptures.
Apply the Scripture to your heart and mind so that you have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). This just means you do not act out in your flesh. Act the way the Holy Spirit directs you.
If you cannot figure out what to do, then phone a Godly friend to get another perspective and Scriptural counsel. Remember the words of Christ in the Sermon of the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who will be persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:3-11)
Respond in a Godly Way
Allow the scripture to direct you to respond in a way that leads to mutual edification and reconciliation (Romans 15:19). Use as little words as possible (Prv 10:19). Try to forgive before you even talk to the person (Col 3:13).
There are times when you do all this and more and there’s still conflict. Life is messy and relationships can be messy also. There is just no one right way to act when we are triggered, except to trust in the Lord and be humble. For the Christian, that means we pray. We wait for the Lord to give us the resolution. We do allow ourselves to be spoken against just as Jesus was. We try to make peace. We do not insist on our own way. We help others draw closer to God. We share the good news of the gospel. We trust in Jesus when we are triggered as much as we can.
Remember Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Let us keep our peace even when triggered. Let us trust Jesus in all things. Be blessed as you trust in God in the big as well as the trivial things, and especially when you are triggered.
- Remove yourself.
- Trust God.
- Apply what God’s Word says.
The Psalmist writes: Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Ps 34:14). Jesus blesses us when we follow His ways, even when it is hard. Jesus is our Prince of Peace. His Holy Spirit and the Word of God will give us the strength and guidance to live the way He did. As we do, we become like Him. This should be the goal of the Christ follower.
Merry Christmas to you and yours! May we become more like Him as we celebrate His birth
All scriptures are from the New International Version, 2011, Biblica. https://www.biblica.com/