Day 12: The Wrath

Cease from anger, and forsake WRATH …” Psalm 37:8

Yesterday we talked about anger and more specifically ceasing (stopping) anger in our lives. What are the next three words that David wrote here? “And forsake wrath.” I can just hear David now saying, “Cease from anger … oh! AND      forsake wrath!” Why do you think David added that part? Why did he not just stop with anger?

Remember our definition of anger was a strong feeling of displeasure or annoyance. Well, wrath means extreme anger. What is David subtly telling us? He is telling us that anger has degrees. Oftentimes anger is compared to heat or fire,    correct? Well, we find that fire has varying degrees. A small flame or fire will not be as hot as a huge, raging forest fire.

When I think of fire in the Bible, the first thing that pops into my mind is the tongue. In James 3:5, James tells us, “Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” In other words, it does not take much for a fire to turn from a small thing to an uncontrollable thing. We must at all times be on watch with the words that we say, especially when anger is present.

When a person is angry, they do not always show it on the outside. It may just be simmering on the inside. I believe that David realized that quenching a small spark of anger was much easier than a full-fledged outward inferno. Ephesians 4:26 tells us to “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Anger is an emotion and anger in itself is not always a sin. Anger, if not controlled, can turn into sin. So, how do we control our anger and how can we overcome our anger once it has taken hold? Here are a few things to consider:

· Consider it’s origin. Often times anger has its roots in the heart. Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently … lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” To overcome, you must deal with the roots.

· It is a tool of the devil to destroy a Christian’s growth, life, and testimony. Anger very assuredly divides and destroys. This is especially seen when someone hurts you with their words or actions. If we are weak spiritually, we will tend to fight back with words or actions, do we not? Does that make us feel better? Does it resolve the issue? I believe not because we are fighting in the flesh and the Bible so clearly tells us that we are fighting a spiritual battle (warfare). Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

· As a Christian, our greatest desire should be to be Christ-like. If we are to be/act Christ-like, we must have the mind of Christ. Ephesians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

In closing, let me encourage you as David did, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath!” Do not let your anger linger any longer. Seek God’s help to find the roots, fight the devil and pattern your thoughts and your actions after the mind of Christ!

Day 11: The Anger

“Cease from ANGER, and forsake wrath …” Psalm 37:8

True or false? Only red-heads get angry? False! Why is the answer false? Because the dictionary defines anger as a strong annoyance or displeasure. Did you read anything about red-heads there? I did not either.

Why would David implore us to “cease from anger?” Do you think it might have been from his personal experience with anger and what he learned through it? Let us look a little closer at this and see what we can learn.

There are a myriad of things that can cause a person to be angry. One is hunger. Have you heard of someone being      hangry? Well, that is a person whose hunger has caused their temper to flare. It is a physical reaction. I am sure that we all have seen a very angry toddler or child who was throwing a fit. A wise mother can discern that the outburst was sparked by hunger. Once she feeds the child, they become as calm as could be.

Just as with depression and anxiety, I strongly believe that anger can have a physical cause, but it can also have a spiritual cause. Sometimes neither one is easy to pinpoint, but it is worth every effort on your part to dig up the true cause of anger in your life. In today’s world, more often than not there is a bi-fold cause. So, if you find one cause, do not stop there because there may be another one hidden just around the corner.

Sometimes anger comes from external circumstances. Circumstances outside of our control. Things that others do or say to us can cause us to be hurt and angry with them. This can be seen in a marriage relationship when a spouse cheats on the other spouse. It can be seen in a child who disrespects his parent (even an adult child). It can even be seen in churches where people get hurt and become angry with others in the church (which ultimately means that they end up angry with God as well). These are just a few circumstances. I am sure that you could add many more to these.

We all at some time in our lives will be hurt. We all at some time will become extremely annoyed or displeased. We all will experience anger. Does it make it right though? Are we justified into hanging onto it and hashing over it again and again and again? Can we just blast it out there on social media so that others can see our hurt and feel our hurt and sympathize with our hurt? I believe that there are more God-honoring ways to deal with our anger. Answers that He wants to show us from His Word. With God is the best place to start. Do not turn from God by turning to others. Do the opposite!

There is a saying that says, “To all good things there comes an end.” Well, to all bad things there needs to come an end as well … especially in the area of anger. There is so much that really needs to be said here, but which this devotional does not allow the space for. But, let me close with this thought … anger in your life and mine CAN be stopped. David made a statement, did he not? He said to “CEASE [stop; halt] from anger.” It was not a question or an option. May I be so bold to say that it was a command? When a fire is fed, it will not go out. Do not keep feeding the fire of anger that is raging inside of you, my friend! Cease instead!