Church camp is that amazing week when you stay up late, run around all day, sing songs, talk about Jesus, play water games and fight for victory in silly competitions. It’s a thrilling time in the summer for the kids and the adults.
This was my first time as an adult sponsor to any camp, and I loved it. We took eight kids—four girls and four boys—from South Texas Children’s Home to Camp Zephyr. The theme this summer was “Inside Out.” During our four days there, we talked about giving our emotions to God and giving our lives to Christ. We had a few mottos throughout the week the kids learned, such as “Trust God, not your emotions,” “Trust Jesus, not yourself” and “Listen to Jesus.”
We focused on the book of Ephesians and talked about how God wants us to trust, follow and listen to him. We hit on all the major emotions and related things back to the newly released movie, Inside Out.
One emotion I think should be added to the girls’ discussions is Sass. Sass is a cousin of Anger and sister to Disgust, because Sass likes to talk back to leaders and takes pleasure in putting others down. Sass comes out when you try to act too cool to listen to whoever is talking. Sass likes to tell you that you are better and smarter and more important.
Sass fights back or ignores others when you are upset. So often, my camp girls would joke around and hurt each others’ feelings, they would whine about the smallest things, argue when there was no reason to argue, and not listen to the leader who was trying to present them with something real and helpful to know. That was Sass putting her hand on the control panel and distracting them from a fun time at camp.
1 Corinthians 11:1 tells us to be imitators of Christ. Sass is not an imitator of Christ. Being Sassy feels good and gives you confidence. But you need to remember that as a Christian, you were bought for a price and need to glorify God in all that you do (1 Corinthians 6:20). Sassing people does not glorify God.
During the camp, we focused on the first four chapters of Ephesians. When I take a look into the fifth chapter I find verse 11, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (ESV). In other words, kick out your Sass. There is nothing good about it, so block her power over your control panel and stop listening to her lies. Instead, put into practice the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Replacing Sass with the fruits of the Spirit doesn’t mean you can’t joke around. It means you utilize the self-control to distinguish when it is appropriate to joke. It means you exercise goodness in the choosing of your words and love in all you do. I feel that the motto for this chapter would be to “Honor God in all that you do.”
Later in Ephesians is a passage about putting on the armor of God. Like the fruits of the Spirit, the armor of God helps protect us from giving in to the control of unwanted emotional characters like Anger, Sass, Sadness and Fear. Gaining the fruits of the Spirit and keeping our armor on and ready requires one to spend time listening to God and following his directions.
I struggle to stay connected to God, so it’s no wonder that the kids prefer to let Sass control them than to allow Christ control. I pray the Lord will help us to monitor our Sass and honor him in all that we do. I pray he will step into our headquarters and take charge of control panels of our lives. Please pray for us to have wisdom in dealing with sassy kids and teach them to love Christ.
Danica Becker, a student at Dallas Baptist University, is serving with Go Now Missions at South Texas Children’s Home Ministry in Beeville.