Monday, November 29, 2010


This devotion is from John Piper's book Life As A Vapor.  I think we all deal with anger at some point - I was very convicted of this not only in how I should deal with those who make me angy, but in looking at those things that I may be (am!) doing to cause anger in others.  So often I think it is easy for us as Christians to hear these verses, and then turn our focus on to that "sandpaper" person who rubs us the wrong way.  But oftentimes we can forget (or choose to ignore) that we are ourselves sandpaper to someone else.

In marriage, anger rivals lust as a killer. My guess is that anger is a worse enemy than lust. It also destroys other kinds of camaraderie. Some people have more anger than they think, because it has disguises. When willpower hinders rage, anger smolders beneath the surface, and the teeth of the soul grind with frustration.

It can come out in tears that look more like hurt. But the heart has learned that this may be the only way to hurt back. It may come out as silence because we have resolved not to fight. It may show up in picky criticism and relentless correction. It may strike out at persons that have nothing to do with its origin. It will often feel warranted by how wrongly it has been treated. After all, Jesus got angry (Mark 3:5) and Paul says, Be angry and do not sin” (Eph. 4:26).
However, good anger among fallen people is rare. That’s why James says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God require” (James 1:19-20). And Paul says, “Men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (1 Timothy 2:8). “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you” (Eph. 4:31).

Therefore, one of the greatest battles of life is the battle to “put away anger,” not just control its expressions. In invite you to join me in this battle by adding these nine biblical weapons to your arsenal.

1. Ponder the right of Christ to be angry, by how He endured the cross, as an example of long-suffering. “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you. Leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (1 Pet. 2:21).

2. ponder how much you have been forgiven, and how much mercy you have been shown. “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (E[h 4:32).

3. Ponder your own sinfulness and take the beam out of your own eye. “Why do you see the speck that is in your bother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’, when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt 7:3-5).

4. Ponder how harbored anger gives place to the devil. You do not want to make room for him or invite him into your life, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph 4:26-27).

5. Ponder the folly of your own self-immolation, that is, the numerous de4trimental effects of anger to the one who is angry- some spiritual, some mental, some physical, and some relations. “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD , and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (Prov 3:7-8).

6. Confess your sin of anger to some trusted friend, and if possible, to the offender. This is a great healing act. “therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

7. Let you anger be the key to unlock the dungeons of pride and self-pity in your heart and replace them with love. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy of boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:4-7).

8. Remember that God is going to work all your frustrating circumstances for your good as you trust in His future grace. Your offender is even doing you good, if you will respond with love. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

9. Remember that God will vindicate your just cause and settle all accounts better than you could. Either your offender will pay in hell, or Christ has paid for him. Your payback would be either double jeopardy or an offense the cross. (emphasis added by Paula). “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12:19). “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting (his cause) to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Father, I love Your patience toward me. I love it when You describe Yourself as slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Oh, to be more like You!
Have mercy on my easily angered heart!
Forgive my many peeves and murmuring.
Grant that I would be saturated with grace, and let me show it to others as I desperately need it for myself.
Because of Jesus,

1 comment:

  1. I often feel that my anger has stemmed from past hurts. Someone has hurt me in the past that I have not forgiven and it has had time to brew inside of me. My propensity to self-defense causes me to be prepared to defend myself against similar future hurt.
    I have always liked Pipers thoughts on "future grace".
    I need to fully forgive those who have hurt me in the past and open myself up to pain in the future knowing that God's grace will sustain me.
    After all, He has forgiven me much.
    This has involved my family and former church members. I can't be a yielded leader in ministry with any unforgiveness lingering and deceiving me into methods of self-defense that hurt others in order to protect myself.
    We all have to be willing as believers to die daily.


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