By Leo Hellyer
Here we are, the spring of 2021, a time of new growth, new challenges, new opportunities, and new successes. Wherever we are in our lives right now, our successes depend greatly upon our motivations and emotions. Many men head out to search for hungry fish in the spring. While this is a wonderful sport, pastime, or hobby, we have a much more important responsibility and mission assignment from our Commander in Chief, Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 4:19 Jesus says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (people).”
If we call ourselves Christians, we are to be more and more like Christ every day. As we fish for men (people), it would be good to know what Jesus’ thoughts are about different types of people. In Matthew 5, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn… Blessed are the gentle… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness… Blessed are the merciful… Blessed are the pure in heart… Blessed are the peacemakers… Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness… Blessed are you when men (people) cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely.”
Men who fish the rivers, lakes, and oceans of this planet should know that having your emotions in control can lead to a much more productive day of fishing for food than if you are volatile in your reactions to life’s challenges. God gave us emotions to express ourselves concerning life’s situations on a daily basis. The emotions that God gave us are not bad. But the way we express ourselves can be very destructive.
In 2009, Chip Ingram published a book that is titled, Overcoming Emotions that Destroy. In the book you will see how destructive anger can be if not kept under control. Anger can come from other emotions, or it can destroy the positive aspects of other emotions.
Whether we are fishing for seafood or the souls of people, anger as an emotion can greatly impact the success of our fishing. In his book, Chip discusses God’s Anger Management Plan by pointing out that Jesus’ own half-brother mentioned this plan in James 1:19-20: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
When we let our anger take control, we don’t catch much seafood, or do a very good job sharing God’s love with someone. So if we want to be good fishermen or fishers of men (people), what can we do to not let anger get in control of us? Chip points out that we need to minimize stress and maximize God. To minimize stress we should eliminate hurry, downsize expectations, admit our mistakes, laugh more, take control of ourselves, and know what triggers our anger. To maximize God we need to draw near to Him, experience His unconditional love and acceptance, accept who God has made each of us to be, trust Him, let Him be in control, be grace givers, and be people of prayer.
Chip points out that, “With God in our hearts there is little room for anything else” and “The more we allow God’s love to infiltrate every fiber of our being, the less room there is for anger to reside.”
I will definitely agree that there are many things and individuals that make it difficult to keep our anger in check. Some of the things that may contribute to our out of control anger are Covid, illness, unemployment, politicians, deceit, destruction, lawlessness, selfishness, lies, corruption, lack of patriotism, unconstitutional actions, abortion laws and policies. You may have additional things to add to this list.
As Chip points out in concluding his book, we need to express anger appropriately and resolve it. If you want to be the best fisher of men that you can possibly be, I highly recommend that you add Chip Ingram’s book Overcoming Emotions that Destroy to your Real Man’s Toolbox.
I deal with anger issues on almost a daily basis. There are times when I am quick to anger instead of quick to listen. I have to frequently go back into God’s presence and be refilled by Him to meet the challenges of life. There is a high burnout rate among those who serve the needs of others. Those who serve must be filled by the Spirit to be able to give God’s love. We must refresh our relationship with God Almighty to be able to share His love with His children. As you are lifting up the needs of others to our Heavenly Father, don’t forget to lift up your needs as well. As you experience God’s unconditional, unending love and acceptance for you, you will be able to share it with those He brings across your path.
Be prepared for and eagerly expecting God’s divine appointments, to step up and share your time and love, and in turn God’s love, with others.
Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at [email protected] or 208-340-5544.