Thursday, March 18, 2021

Choosing To Not Be Angry – A Reflection Of Spiritual Fruit

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:19-23

Anger – you know the feeling don’t you? That feeling that rises up inside of you? Like a jug quickly filling up with water until it overflows.  You face is flushed.  Your heart is racing. But is it anger? Or is it frustration or disappointment? For men, anger has been referred to as a secondary emotion.  In other words there is something at the root of the anger response being displayed.  Often times the reasons for anger are indistinguishable and their expression through you is likewise indistinguishable.  Many people try to explain how they respond or excuse how they respond to life and problems by pointing to their ancestors and their family’s dominant country of origin. It is inherited, but you have to go way back to find its origin.  All the way back to the Garden. 

I have a little different perspective on anger as an emotional response.  I recall a time when we ran into a plumbing snag at the house we were working on.  It was fixable, but it might cost one or two thousand dollars.  The plumber was talking to me on the phone, almost apologetically because he knew that we are a ministry and the home owner had no money to pay for something like that. I could sense that he was expecting me to be unhappy and perhaps even angry (frustrated – disappointed).  I told him – “Man, I have been in two wars.  Unless someone is dying – I don’t get upset about it” I went on to say I know two things – “God is good” and “Jesus Saves”.  That brought perspective into the issue.  I told him that, in fact, I was happy that I was dealing with the problem and not the home owner.  (Galatians 6:2) “Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” 

In my personal experience, if I can’t quell my anger – in other words, not let my emotions rule – it is a pretty good indication that I am not fully submitted to the Spirit of God.  People often point to Jesus being angry in the temple, seeking to justify their own anger.  I would say that the next time you go to church and the money changers and vendors are set up in the foyer – go ahead and drive them out with a righteous anger.  But don’t use Jesus as a reason to justify your flesh and sin.  Others who are looking for an excuse for themselves may buy it, but God doesn’t. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” –  James 1:2-3

Letting the emotion of anger have its way is a temptation -  a fierce temptation – that will spring on you without notice – like an ambush.  The only way you will “survive” an ambush is if you fight your way through it.  To do that you must have prepared yourself for such an occasion beforehand.  How you do that I will defer for another devotion.  But suffice it to say that the temptation to express anger is no different than any other temptation.  Let me share this verse as a reminder.

Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” – James 1:13-15

Believe it – walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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