You can be the master of your own state! I’m talking about your inner state, of course, not some banana republic with you playing dictator. That kind of mastery never works in the real world anyway. (However, to see a comic version of the attempt, check out “The Man Who Would Be King.”) We don’t even get to rule over our inner state with the iron fist of a tyrant. We can try, but bullying our inner self never produces the desired results. Nevertheless, we can become true rulers of the world that lies within us just the same.
My own belief is that the most essential (but least practiced) way in which we are intended to exercise our calling as kings is by becoming masters of our inner state. From there, we may be promoted to rule over many. Proverbs 16:30 informs us that “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” This invites us all to learn to “rule over” our spirit.
The New and Living Way
OK, but how do we do that? Under the new covenant our renewed spirit is united with the Holy Spirit. Scripture cannot be asking me to rule over Him! No, it is my fallen spirit that I am to master. That nefarious, formerly unchallenged master of myself needs to be taken down and kept down. If I don’t learn how to rule over that side of myself, how will I ever be able to stay surrendered to the Lord’s leadership and live the new life of faith and grace?
The revelation of Jesus Christ that comes to us with conversion, is intended to usher in an entirely new way of life. Now that I know that Jesus is alive and that He is Lord, my entire assignment consists in putting Him first (Matthew 6:33). As a clear and present signal that I am on track, the Holy Spirit gives me the peace of Christ to show me that I am trusting and following Jesus sufficiently. Any loss of trust means I lose peace. Any unwillingness to follow means I lose peace. Who wants that? I love the peace of Christ! Don’t you?
Catch the Peace Thief
Whatever in me that steals the peace of Christ is, therefore, a rebel against His leadership and an enemy to my enjoyment of life. This means that anything I see in me that doesn’t match up with Jesus has to go. I have the right to grab any negative emotion, disturbing the peace, and “rule over” it by carrying it captive to Christ. Once there, I hold it up to the light and beat it into submission my making it “bow the knee” to a superior truth I see in Him!
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
The truth is that every negative emotion has a “lofty opinion” that argues against what God says is true. If we believe that lie, we will also feel it as an emotion and be caught in its grip. The way out is to carry it as a captive to Christ. It won’t want to go of course. It would far prefer to keep holding us captive!
This means that one side of you fights the other side for the sake of getting the peace of Christ restored. You can let your emotions rule over you, but in that case you’ve already lost. I HATE losing almost as much as I hate losing the peace of Christ. So, I’m going to fight back. Every time.
How to Master an Emotion
Let me give you two examples so you can see how this works. If I’m angry with someone, I have learned to carry the anger captive to Christ (before it carries me into an explosion) and “see” what He wants me to do with it. The “knowledge of God” is very clear on this. Always, He wants me to forgive (Mark 11:25). So, I work with that truth until the release comes. Then it is so much easier to work with the situation.
Or, consider fear. I carry anxieties to the Lord and “hear” that I am to trust Him even with this situation (Proverbs 3:5). So, I look around for a promise that I can use to beat the fear to death (Romans 8:28 works well on most things). Naturally, I call on Him for help with all of this. And He always comes through. What a difference it makes when I work with a problem trusting the Lord to help me, instead of plunging in driven by fear.
I have learned to do this with hurt, despair, envy, feelings of rejection—the whole gamut of negative emotions which once ruled over me. First, I had to learn how to recover from past wounds by dealing successfully with all the rotten reside of old, ruined emotions. Then, I used those “tools” to gain mastery over my inner state in the present. We can actually exchange any feeling we don’t like for one that Jesus wants to give us. What an incentive!
For more on this see “Negative Emotions” at our website for emotional healing, healingstreamsusa.org.