The instructional series called Play Angry is rooted in the firm belief that Believers must learn to focus their maximum willpower in everything they do. Instead, what happens is just the opposite. We wax and wane in our spiritual attentions and enthusiasms. We timidly accept the grip of monotony; throwing away precious minutes in the dull fog of routine and powerless living.
Well I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to take it anymore; wasting my life, drifting rudderless in semi-toned existence. Consider the time already wasted in failing to identify and conquer dishonorable behaviors – which, if left unchecked – mar character and compromise integrity. I have waited long enough. It’s time to work at life, no… to play at life with the full force, intention, and creativity of my willpower. I am going to take a concerted look at myself and scrape off the barnacles I find. I am going to be filled with what the old-time Bible teachers called “righteous indignation.” I am going to play angry at life and take back control.
The subject today is to Play Angry against the debilitating presence of anger in my life. Are you a person with a temper, or as my Mother used to say, “a short wick?” Do your emotions go from zero-to-sixty quickly? Today we examine what it takes to be on Bible-ground when the subject is a short temper.
Key Bible Verse
The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way…
Let’s begin with a clear understanding that the Bible does not prohibit anger. So don’t despair at what is happening to you. The temper in you that you are fighting is not in itself bad, but you are not sourcing your anger from the right place. The Bible specifically states that there are things that we ought to be angry about (Ephesians 4:26 ). In addition we find Lord Jesus Himself filled with wrath (John 2:15) when He saw how the Temple of God had been made into a “robber’s den” (Matthew 21:13). His anger was sourced in protecting the honor and reputation of God, the variety of anger we often evidence is clearly not that. The type of anger which flairs up and flies uncontrollably outward thrives in the presence of four “blindspots” in our character. It feeds hungrily in four areas we must identify and root-out. The four are:
- Arrogance and Conceit
Indulgence is evidenced by granting ourselves excessive leniency, generosity, and consideration than we offer others. How tolerant are you of yourself? How much slack do you cut yourself that you are not willing to apply to others? Self-indulgence often is seen in being lazy, or slack about getting work done. We are “too tired” or deserve some “me time” away from our responsibilities – (but of course there is no away time from responsibilities, that’s why they are called responsibilities). When people or circumstances interfere with this selfish perspective, anger emerges. The self indulgent person is intolerant of the interruptions of others. An indulgent streak is further evidenced by a generous measure of self-pity. Feeling sorry for yourself builds resentment towards those who caused our discomforts or against those who “should know better” but who treat us poorly. Anger vents at cyclone speed. The Bible fruit (see Galatians 5:22-23) which the antithesis of indulgence is Self Control. Believers struggling with manifestations of self-indulgence must search, meditate on and memorize Scriptures to learn about self-control.
A second blindspot often seen in the hot tempered person is a spirit of Vindictiveness. When you look at yourself do you have or frequently display a strong and (often unreasoning) desire for revenge? It’s a pretty common reaction, really. When we have been badly mangled in our personal lives, we grow impatient to see the wrongdoers punished. Impatience with God’s timing fuels temper which can only grow as we (irresistibly) raise ourselves to the place of self-appointed judge and jury over others. We tell ourselves we’ve suffered enough at the hands of others and we won’t be manipulated and controlled again. Now the premise of not being dominated by others is sound and Bible-based. However, a spirit of vindictiveness is born and fueled when we do not release into God’s judgement those who committed evil against us. By holding onto the poison of vindictiveness we are in effecting doing God’s job for Him – we decide when and how the punishment should be handed out and when it doesn’t happen as we would have it, we grow vindictive. The spiritual fruit to amass against this formidable blind spot are patience and goodness. We must learn to wait on the Lord, to accept His timing and His right to govern the universe (in general) and to govern me (in particular.) We must also learn to be “good” at heart. We must not permit unlovely others to steal our resolve to walk the Jesus Path and “serve others as Christ did”. (He came not to be served, but to serve –Matthew 20:28).
A third blindspot often seen in the angry person is Arrogance and Conceit. This is simply having an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance. The arrogant person (hard to think that word might apply to us, isn’t it?) struts and lives unaware of the needs and presence of others. And when thrust into circumstance where the actions of others impact their lives, they blow up in anger: “no one gets the better of me!” This may show itself in vivid, raging, and open conflict – or in a revealing hand gesture to someone in traffic. “You got in my way and you are going to pay the price.” Conceit carries the further notion of not caring for (and getting angry at) people who do not see us as we see ourselves. We strive, we suffer and someone (everyone?) had better notice how precious we are. The old proverb says: “Count yourself again, you’re not so many.” The spiritual fruit which quench arrogance and conceit in an angry person are kindness and gentleness. It takes work to be kind, and even more work to be gentle. The Bible said Christ was meek (not weak). Meekness is viewing the needs of others as paramount to our own; being kind enough to notice the needs of others and being gentle enough to meet those needs while keeping our eyes off ourselves. This is stuff of service and compassion.
A final element often visible in the life of the short-tempered person is Treachery. This is the condition of the soul which condones the betrayal of trust, which also manifests itself in deceptive actions, and is all about “Self” without conscious consideration or loyalty to others. No one wants to see themselves painted as treacherous, but since temper is fueled by treachery, it pays to assess for this. The treacherous person is always happy to receive complements and attention but rarely (if ever) initiates appreciative or supportive remarks towards others. They are not likely to remember to say thank you. They are aware that others care for them (or even love them deeply) but they live indifferent to this – taking love by others as a right; something they deserve. At times they condescend to appear warm and approachable in relationship (above all else, treacherous people want to be admired), but this is usually short-lived and what they take is always out of proportion to what they give. The treacherous person lives without much attention to others except for how others can meet their needs. This type of person grows quickly annoyed when inconvenienced (or heaven forbid) confronted by others. Anger provides the glimpse into the treacherous person – because they daily try to fool others of their sincerity, while all along worrying only over their own concerns. The spiritual fruit which battles against this personality manifestation is faithfulness. If temper runs rampant in your life, perhaps it is time to look about to see who have lived loyal to you; and to become intentional about letting them know it. Initiate more often, be observant of others. Listen more closely to hear God talking to you. Recognize His promptings will often be away from the things you’re used to seeking – i.e. the things which satisfy you. This change of direction (to others and away from self) will heal and grow the mind, will and emotion away from selfish concerns.
Only the Word of God can heal a person. Please feel free to contact me, Pastor Bob (406-351-0809) for support in any of these areas. Facing yourself is a difficult thing, but God will honor you for it and you will live life free from anger! Thank you for visiting with Restart church. God Bless!