Monday, October 17, 2016

Arrogance and Aggression

I have been following Rick Warren’s recent series on stress in our lives and Sunday’s devotional really struck a chord with me, both for its counterintuitive perspective and that it hit pretty close to home.  Have a read through it and then there are some questions to help facilitate a Spirit-led conversation.

By Rick Warren — Oct 16, 2016

“Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29b NIV).
The third thing Jesus says in the Bible’s stress management sentence is, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29b NIV).
What can you learn from Jesus Christ that will lower the stress in your life? Gentleness and humility. You say, “Wait a minute! That’s not exactly what I want to learn. Why didn’t Jesus say, ‘I’ll teach you endurance and stamina’ or ‘I’ll teach you confidence and courage’?” Jesus wants you to learn gentleness and humility to help manage your stress. Why? 
You probably don’t realize it, but the two biggest causes of stress in your life are arrogance and aggression
Aggression happens when you do things too quickly. You don’t wait. You don’t ponder. You don’t delay. You don’t think it through. You don’t trust God’s guidance and direction. You just jump in with both feet. And as a result, you get over committed, and you fill up your life with a lot of things that it shouldn’t be filled with.
Arrogance is the idea that you know what’s best for you, so you’re going to control everything in your life. You think you can handle things better than God can. Don’t you think that attitude probably creates a great deal of stress in your life? 
The truth is when you try to do it all, have it all, be it all, and experience it all, that is aggression and arrogance. What’s the antidote? Gentleness and humility. The two things we think we don’t need in life are the two things that reduce stress in our lives. 
You’ve tried everything else to reduce your stress. Why don’t you try trusting God? Come to Jesus. He is gentle and humble of heart, and he will give you rest.

Things to Think About:
  • How does arrogance (thinking you know best) contribute to your anxiety?
    • we talk a lot about ego and pride and this is in the same vein
  • another way Pastor Rick talks about things that contribute to our stress is taking on too many activities and responsibilities because we think we can or must do all of them. Does this resonate with you?
  • What does it mean to humble yourself before God?
    • Oftentimes with a boxer, the only time he gets humble is after 10 seconds flat on his back!
    • How are we often like the boxer?
    • How would God have as act instead?
  • What are some habits you have formed that are in the category of aggressive? 
    • could be things like saying things you later regret, making a poor decision because you feel there is no other option, interrupting others, not giving someone enough time to come to a realization on their own, getting angry or frustrated easily...
  • How can you practice gentleness today with the people and in the activities you have committed to?
  • How does Jesus model gentleness?
    • what are some examples of how He treated “sinners”?
    • how did He treat those who struck Him and crucified Him?
  • How does Jesus model humility?
    • see Philippians 5-11

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