I have been hearing the term "short fuse" a lot lately.
In reference to me.
It's true. The past week or so I have been kind of on edge and ready to blow.
This morning, I visited the Good Morning, Girls! website and saw this verse and weekly challenge:
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20
Week 3 Challenge: This week we are going to focus on putting verse into action in our lives. As you interact with your families and friends, focus on being quicker to listen, slower to speak and slower to become angry.
Ugh. Don't you just love when you're slapped across the face with one of those?
Obviously, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my "short fuse," and I started thinking about the underlying cause. In doing so, I googled the term "short fuse," hoping to figure out what causes a real-life short fuse. After reading quite a few explanations with a wrinkled brow, I found this one easy enough for me to understand:
A short is caused when the hot wire (black) touches another hot wire or touches a neutral wire (white). It can also be caused if there is a break in a wire in the circuit. Shorts are a bit more difficult to diagnose because they can be caused by the wiring in your home or in something you have plugged into an outlet.
You probably already know where I'm going with this...
A short is caused when the hot wire (black) touches another hot wire or touches a neutral wire (white).
Back in my VBS Days, I remember one of our leaders doing a cool experiment in which he poured black spots all over a piece of white cloth to represent the sin in our lives. Then he put it in some sort of "magic" solution which washed the cloth white. Black = sin. Jesus = magic solution. White = righteousness. Savvy? (One of the characters used that word in Pirates of the Caribbean, and I've wanted to use it for awhile now, savvy? Heehee.)
Needless to say, once we're made white by Jesus, there aren't supposed to be any more black spots. No more black wires. No more sin.
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." Romans 6:12
When the black wire creeps back in (for me, in the form of impatience, pride, and lack of self-control) and hits the white wire...short fuse.
It can also be caused if there is a break in a wire in the circuit.
This week I fell off the bible reading wagon. I think I went three or four days without picking it up. And my prayer life has been less-than-mediocre. One of my sweet sisters-in-Christ was quick to remind me that our God is gracious and that the only person setting reading requirements for me is me! And thank goodness for that truth! But while I am humbled and grateful for Christ's goodness and grace, I also understand that there are consequences for my lack of discipline. James 4:8 says "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." When there's a disconnect between me and God, when there's a "break" in my wire...short fuse.
Shorts are a bit more difficult to diagnose because they can be caused by the wiring in your home or in something you have plugged into an outlet.
What am I plugging into my outlet?
Colossians 3 (one of my absolute favorite passages) tells us to "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."
Reading through the list, I can definitely see forms of covetousness, idolatry, and malice in my life. I need to "unplug."
But you can't just "unplug." The outlet is there to be used. Instead, Paul tells us to "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Can I get a collective amen?
If I "plug in" compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forebearance, forgiveness, love, the peace of Christ, thankfulness, a desire and passion for the word, and genuine praise, not only will I not have any electrical problems, but my light will shine for all to see and will glorify God in the process.
My article tells me that when you have a short fuse, you have a few repair options:
1) Reset the circuit breaker.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me." - Psalm 51:10
2) Remove the old wire and replace it with a new one.
"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." - Romans 6:4
3) If all else fails, call an expert.
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:1-10
Oh, Lord, help me not to have a "short fuse." Rid me of myself. Help me to put off the clothing of old, and Lord, clothe me in your righteousness. Help me to practice discipline and self-control in my life so that I might draw near to you. Thank you for rewiring me. Thank you for being such a good and gracious God, rich in mercy and full of love. I am your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. Let your glory shine through me!