Annoyed, moody, grumpy, short-tempered and irritable. Not one person wakes up in the morning with this as their goal. However, as much as we try to be in a good mood, negative emotions can be inevitable.
The most frustrating aspect of negative emotions is determining what triggered them. The people we are closest with are usually the ones that experience these emotions firsthand. For me, it’s usually, “I need time for myself,” or “I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m in one of those moods.” As much as I try to fight this mentality, it is hard to shake.
For me, personally, I try a few methods when I’m in a bad mood. Usually this involves being outside in the yard, golfing or going to the local YMCA. However, these sources won’t help fully. We must remember this world can’t fulfill us completely.
One of the most profound truths in history is reflecting on how Jesus expressed his negative emotions in a righteous way. I doubt Jesus was always in the best mood, but he knew how to filter his frustration.
In the temple, we see Jesus frustrated with his people as he overturned money tables and chairs:
“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons” (Matthew 21:12).
As we read of Jesus’ life on Earth in scripture, we quickly see he handled frustration in a teaching, but loving, manner.
Being human and perfect seems difficult to fathom but Jesus championed both of these and more. I know we will always fall short on how we can make strides of improvement with our attitude and emotions. However, Jesus gives a very practical way to filter our emotions.
Jesus was able to respond in a righteous way because he remained with the Father. The times I find myself most irritable directly correlates with my time spent with God.
Fruit is hard to bear apart from the vine. Jesus spoke of this directly, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Jesus is the vine. We are the branches. Without him we can do nothing. As the branches we must completely depend on God for grace, truth and strength to respond like him. Season after season, in order to produce desirable fruit, we must cultivate the vine. Praying, reading scripture, resting and listening to worship music are ways we can cultivate the vine to produce fruit.
As fruit produces, we must remember to share the new wine with the world around us. Don’t be discouraged if you have highs and lows in handling emotions. Wine can only be produced when fruit is crushed, pressed and made new!
Zach Williams is the Volunteer Director at TrueNorth Church. Visit truenorthchurch.com for more information.