“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!