Follow up to Joy & Peace (aka “resting in the liver”)

13 Aug

What an amazing Sunday!  We got to celebrate with seven people as they were baptized, proclaiming their faith in Christ and their desire to be his disciples for life.  That visual image of moving from death (under the water) to life (rising above the water) is so clear.

Through those baptisms on Sunday we saw a bit of what Jesus meant when he said he came to give us abundant life.  We also learn about that life through the Fruit of the Spirit.  On Sunday we took a brief look at Joy and Peace.  Very similar to the difference between “Like and Love”, which is the difference between opinion and conviction, we talked about how we can experience joy and peace despite the circumstances.  James reminds of this when he says “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds”. 

Wow.  Read that a couple times reflectively.  James knew what it meant to rest in the liver, which is, by the way, one way some cultures talk about peace.  In our culture, the heart or stomach or mind is the seat of our emotions.  But liver?  Yep, the liver.  We might say “give your liver a rest,” but when we say that, we’re not talking about emotions!  In some cultures they feel emotion is centered in the liver like we say we feel it in our heart.  Just different body parts, that’s all.  Same phenomenon.

The question is how do we properly deal with our emotions.  James is essentially saying “Use your mind (consider) when you are dealing with life’s crap (it) to control your emotions (joy).”  Consider it joy.  Yeah, it’s that simple.

Yeah, right.  Simple?  Try impossible.  Or at least it can seem that way.

So I came across this very helpful article.  Check it out.  Maybe it will help you grow joy and peace in your life.  Another excellent resource about emotions is the book The Cry of the Soul by Dan Allendar and Tremper Longman.  I urge you to begin a study of it.  Have you contacted a friend to help you?  Why not meet with them week by week until you finish studying the book?  We’re growing fruit this month!  Maybe discussing it more here will help too?

6 Responses to “Follow up to Joy & Peace (aka “resting in the liver”)”

  1. Sherri Patton August 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Wow, this blog is very good. Not that they all haven’t been, but I think because it just hits home with me. The other is the way everything is explained. I loved the article that you included in this post. It all is so true, but yet in our daily lives we get so caught up in the sin, our emotions and the wrong ways of dealing with it all. Scary. I certainly, just in the past few weeks have learned a lot about my emotions. My solution? PRAY. But even then sometimes I will Pray once, then feel I have my answer! But no, I have learned from my trials to take TIME. Think it through, let God work through it with me. IT IS SO HARD. But knowing there is a light in the distance is very helpful. The hardest part though is when you can feel something, and your heart is where your feeling it from. That is one of the scariest feelings to work through, because my whole life I have trusted what my heart says. Our society leans on that” Follow your heart”. What if you try to change something in your heart and you can’t?
    Thanks, these blog’s are a great reminder through the week. Keeps the focus going in the right direction.

    • joelkime August 14, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      Thanks for this, Sherry. Prayer is vital. I would also encourage you to add study of the Word of God. And that leads to your second question, about struggling to change your heart. Take a look at this list of verses on the heart. There is much to consider in these verses, some that would provide a significant caution to the idea of “follow your heart”, some that would seem to encourage it. To summarize the verses, it seems that the biblical authors are saying that we must remember our sin nature. Secondly, they talk about seeing the transformation of the heart by submitting it to the Lord. Studying his word, having accountability, etc. We should be people who are asking the Lord to change our hearts to make them more and more like his. Then, when that transformation is well under way, we should follow our heart, because it will be in line with his word and his will. Hope that helps!

      • Sherri Patton August 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

        Thank You for this. I looked over some of the verses and many I understood. But Jeremiah & Matthew. The whole, your heart is deceitful, and evil, kinda got me. Maybe I’m not perceiving it correctly. I do understand about, leaning on God’s word, and not just praying but studying it too. With our Faith still being new, this is something that I will struggle to incorporate in. I have had many conversations with God, and Prayed like no other. I know your mind can get mixed up, but never would I consider sin, or evilness to come from my heart.
        But anyway, thanks for taking time to offer some guidance.

      • joelkime August 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

        Thanks for asking about this. What those verses are referring to is the teaching of sin nature. Through the Bible runs the teaching that humanity is sinful. That it is in our nature to sin, very much related to free will. Take a look at our Evangelical Congregational Articles of Faith, #105, that explains this teaching briefly.

        There is definitely a tension between the idea that God created us good and the idea that we are sinful. I would recommend that you read through the book Romans. Paul explains the sin nature in detail. You got me thinking that perhaps we should have a sermon series on Romans!

        The way I sometimes illustrate this is to think of our children. We never had to teach them to disobey! They just do, even from a very young age.

        What is awesome is that, though we are sinful, there is hope in Christ, because he has won the victory over sin and death!

      • Sherri Patton August 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

        Thank You. Yes, A sermon on this would be beneficial! I wonder how many people Struggle/not grasp the real concept about this? It is new to me, however to some it may just be entirely misconstrued. I will certainly, take advantage of what you have offered for me to read. Thank You for your guidance with this….

      • joelkime August 15, 2013 at 11:16 am #

        Sounds great! I think it is possible that others may struggle with the concept too.

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