There is a term in our culture that is so common that I realized that I had never taken a close look at it. The term is “taking it out on...”
We use it or hear it used to describe a person dumping abuse on another person. Often, the recipient of this abuse is someone close to them such as a spouse or a child.
“….and then, he (or she) took it out on me.”
Why do we do this? I’ve done it. Probably you’ve done it. Most, if not all, of us have.
The earth is stressful. Our enemy, the devil, makes sure of that. He wants to put something (stress) inside us from the outside, since that is where he is. He wants to put his influence inside us so he can steer us wherever he wishes.
He LOVES when people go through their lives with their focus set firmly on the outside world.
Satan knows that the very first people did not live like this. He watched God construct the first two people. He watched God put His Spirit INSIDE them.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (soul).” (Genesis 2:7)
He knew they had everything, the most important being that God Himself resided in their human spirits, bringing LIFE to their souls. He knew they lived instinctively drawing life from God deep within themselves.
So, he enticed them to look OUTSIDE.
The temptation of the woman and the man as reported in Genesis 3 is basically a matter of the devil convincing people that something OUTSIDE them can be taken into them and make them better INSIDE. And, they fell for it.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)
This is why every human ever born without the Holy Spirit living inside him (everyone ever born BUT Jesus) instinctively lives an outside to inside life. From conception on we look to outside ourselves for someone or something to make us better on the inside.
Some of us have become born again. How did that start for us?
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)
Father God approaches us from the outside and “draws” us to Jesus. That literally means that He dragged our focus to Jesus Who, at the time was OUTSIDE us. Then we received Him and the Holy Spirit once again took residence INSIDE us.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELLS IN YOU?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
So, now Christians have been restored back to the way we were in the Garden of Eden, right?
Yes. For the most part, this is true; however, prior to being saved we were discipled by satan to live an OUTSIDE to INSIDE life. This is what we know – so, this is how we live instinctively even as Christians.
Think about how you pray. Think about how you have watched other Christians pray. We look up…OUTSIDE ourselves. Even when we bow our heads as we have been trained to do, we seek God from OUTSIDE and beg Him to make an intervention in our circumstances.
I believe with all my being that Christian discipleship is intended by God to first and foremost teach us that God the Holy Spirit lives INSIDE us and wants to live OUT through us. Sadly, Christian discipleship is all but non-existent in the Body of Christ today. Satan has infiltrated the Church and we Christians have been taught to remain in the same posture in which Adam and Eve found themselves after the Fall of Man, desperately scrambling to survive by foraging for anything we need, even God, that we might take INSIDE ourselves to make us feel okay.
Meanwhile, God Himself lives INSIDE us.
Satan has made fools of us.
I asked the question earlier, “Why do we ‘take it out’ on one another?”
When we live with an OUTSIDE to INSIDE focus, not designed in Christ to live that way anymore, nothing on the OUTSIDE will ever completely satisfy us. Eventually, we will become frustrated, depressed, anxious, sad…angry and the pressure will build and we will explode and we will direct that OUTSIDE ourselves. We direct it outside ourselves because that is from where we expected our salvation to come – and it didn’t.
We throw fits. We throw tantrums. We take it OUT…on someone else.
We take it OUT.
And, that won’t satisfy us either because it runs counter to our design in Christ so the pressure will build up again and we will do it again…and again…and again. We will experience little bursts of pressure relief that have to be repeated. This is bondage.
When “we ‘take it out’ on one another” who is the “other” that typically catches all that soul vomit?
“…if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Galatians 5:15)
We almost always do this to those closest to us: our spouses and our children and our friends. We do it to those God Himself has arranged would be most important in our lives; we do it to those He has given as gifts to us and it cheats them of the gifts God intended us to be to them.
“…all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:14)
Paul wrote that because he was addressing a problem that existed. He wrote it because, even in the first century Church, people were “taking it out on one another.”
He writes it to us…here and now.
What is the antidote to “taking it out on one another”?
“COME TO ME, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus ushered in a whole new way of living, intending to completely wreck the OUTSIDE to INSIDE lifestyle that the devil sowed into human souls starting with the temptation.
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)
Can you see what Jesus is telling the Jewish leaders? He is telling them that they are seeking life from OUTSIDE themselves (which, being lost, is all they had at the time) but that they were unwilling to go to Life Himself to have it permanently and experience that life continually.
While it is true that the words “come to” in that verse might give us the impression that they mean to somehow stumble up to Jesus on the outside of ourselves, in the Greek the words can also mean “accompany”.
When Jesus bids us to come to Him it is not an invitation to seek Him from outside ourselves; rather, it is an invitation to accompany Him to where He lives – in our human spirits through the Holy Spirit of God.
In Matthew 19:14 Jesus gives us some insight as to how His Kingdom works when He says, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom of heaven operates like this; we have complete and continual access to Jesus Who chose to dwell within every Christian.
Let’s go IN to Him with our stress and our worries and our fears and our frustration.
Let’s ask Him, “Lord, what do You think about this problem WE(us and Jesus) are facing today? Lord, what do You intend to do about it?”
Let’s ask Him to take away our stresses, worries, fears, frustration,
and anger and ask Him to replace them with His peace and joy.
Let’s stop taking it out on one another. Instead, let’s choose to love our neighbor (literally, “those nearest to us”).
Let’s take it IN to the Lord.
In the meantime, it would be good for us to ask the Lord to adjust how we approach this world in which He has chosen for us to live.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)
A big part of the renewing of our minds and the transformation that happens because of that have to do with learning how to live from DEEP within our human spirits through Christ Who dwells inside us now. This involves unlearning the old ways and will take some focus effort on our part.
As we do this and as Jesus trains us how to live as the new eternal creations we are, we can expect to experience a new lifestyle characterized by the lyrics of an old hymn I learned as a new Christian.
O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
(Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus - Helen H. Lemmel, 1922)
May this be our new normal.
May the OUTSIDE become less and less crucial in our eyes and replaced by the Lord Jesus.
“If (since) then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:1-17)