Perhaps a better title for this article would be “doing battle with inclinations of the heart”.
I do want to be clear here that I’m not talking about love or passion but I am talking about those knee-jerk reactions we all have to various situations and people. These flow out of the various experiences we each have had and include what we dislike or even hate. Getting burned or mistreated by someone in specific ways can often cause us to become untrusting of others.
These things are natural for us to do as we each naturally default to wanting to defend ourselves. Nevertheless, allowing the inclinations that have been built up in us to rule us can also lead to us doing harm or “injury” to others. I’m speaking primarily to the social repercussions but such things can easily even cross over into the physical.
As Christians, we are called to be like Christ (Philippians 2:1-11). This includes then that we are to reach out to the lost even when our very faculties war against us in doing so. A practical approach to quieting such warring, such battles with potentially harmful inclinations is to deliberately face them. Don’t flee. If you notice you are having difficulty working with say poor people because of a tendency or inclination to want to stay away from what you may think or feel is dirty, then that is exactly what you need to do.
This isn’t that different from facing a fear. You face your fears in order to keep them from dominating you. The same goes for inclinations that keep you from being genuine to others or serving others. You have to deliberately put yourself in situations that you will have to confront yourself, confront your negative knee-jerk reactions and in time the difficult battles will become easier and easier to handle to the point you are able to deal with them in stride without hesitation.
Christ was tested in every way that we have been (). He had to deal with the very inclinations we do. This includes fears and the temptation to treat others in negative ways. But Jesus Christ’s mind was filled with glorifying God in His actions. He wanted to glorify God above all else, even unto death! So what did he do? He was very versed in the Scriptures to the point that He was a rabbi (this was through much study, hint hint!), and he sought out the lost in order to bring them to God including those that much of Jewish society at the time would actively look down on, mistreat, &/or treat as filth.
Don’t let your knee-jerk reactions define or dictate you.
If you have a natural urge to want to turn away from the poor and the dirty, deliberately make it your practice to reach out to them in one way or another.
Need some ideas? Volunteer at homeless shelters. Take it upon yourself to hand out water to beggars. Continually educate yourself in the Scriptures so that you can deal appropriately with difficult or quarrelsome people. Always fight to remember that every person is an image bearer of God just as much as you, whether or not that person is truly reflecting Him or not. Treat others as you want to be treated. And, above all else, treat everyone in Godly love.
You must face the darkness within you. Always remember that you are not alone. If you have Christ, then you have His Holy Spirit within you. You are not alone and He will provide the strength. Always remember to pray and ask for His guidance and strength.