One morning this week, as I was racing up the stairs in my home, I said to my husband, “When my aging body has this much energy I know that it’s from God! It’s not due to caffeine or adrenaline–flowing from anxiety or anger. There’s a difference between a caffeine induced high, an adrenaline surge, and Holy Spirit empowerment.”
The Old Testament prophet Elijah knew what Holy Spirit empowerment was. By God’s power he outran a chariot. This is how Eugene Peterson describes that event: “Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel. And God strengthened Elijah mightily. [italics mine] Pulling up his robe and tying it around his waist, Elijah ran in front of Ahab’s chariot until they reached Jezreel.” (1 Kings 18:45-46 The Message)
I can’t image myself out-running a chariot; so far, God has not called me to do anything like that. However, I do know what it’s like to be empowered by his Spirit in the work that he has called me to do–teaching and writing. Sometimes, even after seven or eight hours of sleep, I wake up in the morning wanting more sleep. Instead, I drink a glass of water, pick up my Bible, and prayerfully read.
The encouragement that the Lord gives me during this time strengthens both my body and my spirit. I feel energized–much more energized than I do when I drink a cup of coffee (not that I’m against coffee). I can’t explain how this works; it’s a mystery. I call it joy-strength. It’s the joy of being loved and accepted by God. It’s the joy of being a servant of Jesus Christ. The beautiful thing about this kind of strength is: it is never followed by a let-down–like an adrenaline crash.
Sometimes I operate under the influence of adrenaline—adrenaline that’s generated by anger. It feels powerful. But even when this power is used for good (anger does not have to be destructive), exhaustion is its by-product. Through a cooperative relationship with the Holy Spirit that results in self-control, my anger level is both managed and reduced. The end result is inner peace.
In Chapter 9 of my book Emotional Freedom, I explain how to detect destructive anger. in Chapter 10, I explain how, through choosing Holy Spirit empowerment, we can possess self-control and become productive.
These are the key concepts of Chapter Ten:
- Admitting to our destructive expressions of anger is the first step to making positive changes.
- Learning to detect signs of stress in our bodies helps us detect anger.
- Doing something to calm ourselves decreases adrenaline and reduces the intensity of our anger.
- By asking God for wisdom and following the direction of the Holy Spirit, we can use the energy of anger for constructive problem solving.
- We can learn to communicate our anger in ways that improve relationships.
- Resolving anger on a daily basis prevents emotional “baggage” from accumulating in our lives and frees up our energy, so that we become more productive.
May God bless you, today, with joy-strength as you turn to him for empowerment.
You can find information on purchasing Emotional Freedom here.