Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Anger: How to honor God when Angry

Anger: How to honor God when Angry
By Jeff Korhorn

Truth: Anger is a God-given emotion
Anger is an emotion, put in us by God.  We are created in God's image,  in fact, anger reflects the "image of God" in us.  This emotion is a very good thing.  (Read Genesis 1:26-31)
Anger is an emotion that reveals something in our hearts.  It is like a warning light on a dashboard.  We can get angry about godly things (righteous indignation) or about ungodly things (idolatry).

Try it: When you get angry, ask yourself, "Why am I getting angry?"
I am getting angry because ____________________________.
This will help us reveal what we really want here.  Is it a godly thing or a thing that is ungodly?  Is the name of God being maligned? Are people being hurt?  OR are you not getting what you want (peace, respect, worship, love, space, etc)?

Q: Is it a sin to be angry? ____________________________________________________

Truth: When we are angry, we will need to make a choice.
Do we honor God, by keeping him on the throne and handling anger in the way he wants us to (1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5:13-25, 2 Timothy 2:23-26) OR do we dishonor God, by putting some idol on the throne and handling anger not in the way he wants us to, thus kicking him off the throne of our hearts?

Study: What does Scripture say about anger?
James 1:19-20 says, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
because HUMAN anger does not produce the righteousness that God requires."

The word for anger is orge, which has to do with wrath, rage, extending self.  Our angry, rageful emotions do not produce/result in the righteousness that God requires.  In other words, when we allow ourselves to get filled with rage, bad things typically happen.

The passage goes on in verse 21-
"Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."

John Calvin said that our hearts are idol factories.  We are so prone to wander, so prone to idols, that typically our anger is a result of some idol that we have set up in our hearts to oppose God. So God calls us to get rid of all moral filth.  Put that stuff off.  And put on, accept God's word that has been planted in us.

Then verse 22 says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."  When faced with anger, we need to learn to realize what is making us angry, and instead of demanding our idol be served (our rights, peace, respect, love, control, worship, etc), we should humbly do what God has told us to do.  To walk in the Spirit through obedience to His word and allowing the fruit of the Spirit (all of that fruit) to permeate our thoughts, words, and actions.

As Christians, we do not have the right to sin.  We do not have the right to walk in the flesh towards people in society and we do not have a right to ever walk in the flesh towards our family.  God calls us to be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might, and to walk in the Spirit, even if someone that we face is not.

Study: Discern and write down what the following verses have to say about the wrong way to handle anger. (From Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne A. Mack)

Ephesians 4:26-27 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 17:14 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 29:11,20 ____________________________________________________
Matthew 5:21-22 ____________________________________________________
Ephesians 4:31 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 26:21 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 15:1 ____________________________________________________
Colossians 3:8 ____________________________________________________
Romans 12:17,19 ____________________________________________________
1 Peter 3:9 ____________________________________________________
1 Corinthians 13:5 ____________________________________________________
Philippians 4:8 ____________________________________________________

Study: discern and write down what the following verses have to say about the right way to handle anger.
Romans 12:19-21 ____________________________________________________
Psalm 4:4 ____________________________________________________
Ephesians 4:26 ____________________________________________________
Ephesians 4:29 ____________________________________________________
Ephesians 4:32 ____________________________________________________
Matthew 5:43-44 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 19:11 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 15:1 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 15:28 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 16:32 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 25:28 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 14:29 ____________________________________________________
Proverbs 29:11 ____________________________________________________
Psalm 37:1-11 ____________________________________________________
1 Peter 3:9 ____________________________________________________
Galatians 5:16-23 ____________________________________________________
Romans 8:28-29 ____________________________________________________
Matthew 5:1-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:18 _________________________________________
Ephesians 5:20 ____________________________________________________
1 Corinthians 10:13 ____________________________________________________
Genesis 50:20 ____________________________________________________
James 4:6 ____________________________________________________
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ____________________________________________________
Matthew 8:21-35 ____________________________________________________

Truth: God wants His children to walk according to the Spirit

Q: Are you a child of God?
Not everyone who lives is a child of God.  Not everyone can relate to God as their Father.  The glorious and greatest news is that you can become a child of God, and receive new life, new birth through the Holy Spirit.
You see, God sent His son, Jesus to show us how to live, and also, He died brutally on a cross, taking your sin, my sin, the worlds sin upon himself.  He bore our cross.  He paid the penalty for our sin. He died, so we may live.  He paid the price for our crime, so that we could be forgiven.  Those who receive Jesus as our savior have the right to be called children of God.  And not only children but heirs with Christ, who will live with him forever!
Also, Jesus rose bodily from the dead, so that we can also rise up and walk in newness of life and a relationship with him forever and ever.  Have you received Jesus as your savior? If so, you are a child of God.  This is great news!

Q: So, now that you are a child of God, how do we live?

Galatians 5:13-25
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.

But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh;
rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
(If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.)

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious:
sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Against such things there is no law.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

"Have crucified"- indicative, those who belong to Jesus have crucified their flesh. It is being mortified, it is dying a miserable death on the cross.
"Let us keep in step"-imperative, a command (earlier imperative, here it is subjunctive). If we are in Christ, we have crucified our flesh and are commanded to keep in step (walk in the Sprit) with the Spirit.

Q: How do we walk by the Spirit?

I have been intensely in, and have seen the error of these following circles.  I speak from experience here:
Christian Mysticism-
In many Christian circles, people look for a mystical experience.  As a result, some circles rely heavily on God directed emotions or signs. We all know that emotions sometimes conflict with what is true and are dependent on mood.  Moods are often due to diet, sleep, health, and environmental things. Therefore, some mystic Christians are following the unstable moods and emotions in order to "feel" the Spirit's leading.  Now while it is true that God can steer the heart, and sometimes speaks through gentle whispers, he has already shouted through His word.

2.  Hyper-Relational Christians-
In some Christian circles, the issue of personal relationship is often a stumbling block from walking in the Spirit.  These circles look for God to "speak" to them through either an audible voice or through speaking to their mind.  Now, while God does this sometimes, He has already spoken through His word.  In fact, if God does speak to us, we will need to know what He has already said well enough to run "God's voice" through the grid of His written word.  We need to be students of His written word, so we can discern the prompting of the Spirit on specific things.
This is not at all inferior relationally.  In fact, even people like Moses, Noah, Job, Abraham, and Mary seldom heard the voice of the Lord or an angel. They too walked most of their life in faith.  And most in obedience to Scripture.

Truth: We walk in the Spirit by obeying God, rather than the impulses of our flesh

In regards to anger, it looks like this...

Jeff needs a nap!
Jeff comes home from a busy day.  He is tired and desires a nap.  He asks his wife, Shellie, if he could lay down for thirty minutes to rest.  She says yes, so he plops himself down on the couch.  Three minutes later, the dog and kids come running in and jump on dad.

What does Jeff desire? ___________________________________________________
Is this desire sinful? ___________________________________________________
What could make this desire sinful? _______________________________________

Jeff wakes up and is immediately faced with a choice.
Choice 1: I will serve my flesh.
Choice 2: I will glorify God by choosing to walk in the Spirit.

Choice 1 may look like: "Get outta here you lousy kids!  [kicks the dog off the couch] Can't you see that I am tired?  You drive me nuts!  Shellie, get these stupid kids out of here."

Choice 2 may look like: [smiles and hugs the kids briefly] "Hey kids, how was your day?  Do you mind if I catch a quick nap?  I am exhausted.  After I wake up we will do something together, alright?"

How is Choice 1 a problem? What does it reveal about the heart?
How may Choice 2 be in step with the Spirit?

2. Shellie's dirty dishes.
Shellie has been busy with the kids and is making dinner.  She knows that there will be a lot of dirty dishes after dinner.  Also, all the kids are doing homework and then will start chores.  Jeff comes in tired from a busy day and wants to take a nap.

What does Shellie desire? ___________________________________________________
Is this desire sinful? ___________________________________________________
What could make this desire sinful? _______________________________________

Shellie is immediately faced with a choice.
Choice 1: I will serve my flesh.
Choice 2: I will honor God by choosing to walk in the Spirit.

Choice 1 may look like: "Jeff, you always take a nap!  You are like an old geezer.  You never help me around the house.  Why don't you get up and help me?  Your brother-in-law always does the dishes."

Choice 2 may look like: "How did your day go?  Do you mind helping with the dishes for a few minutes first? My hands are full and I am busy making dinner.  I can then push back dinner a few minutes so that you can get that nap in."

How is Choice 1 a problem? What does it reveal about the heart?
How may Choice 2 be in step with the Spirit?

3. Driving me crazy.
Robert (aka Vanilla Ice) is rollin down A1A in his Ford Mustang 5.0, with his ragtop down, so his hair can flow.  Enjoying the drive at the speed limit of 35, Sammy Hagar comes flying up at 54 mph right on Robert's tail.  He is clearly aggressive and wants to pass, but can't.  He starts trying to get Robert to hurry up.
But Robert, until recently was enjoying a nice sunny day on A1A.

What does Robert desire? ___________________________________________________
Is this desire sinful? ___________________________________________________
What could make this desire sinful? _______________________________________

Robert is immediately faced with a choice.
Choice 1: I will serve my flesh.
Choice 2: I will honor God by choosing to walk in the Spirit.

Choice 1 may look like: Robert slamming on his brakes, causing Sammy to go off the road, and therefore endangering Sammy and others.

Choice 2 may look like: Robert waving Sammy along or pulling over so Sammy can pass.

How is Choice 1 a problem? What does it reveal about the heart?
How may Choice 2 be in step with the Spirit?

The next time you are faced with a crisis like these, ask these questions.  In fact, make a graph and keep a log of crisis like these.  Ask:

What was the situation, 2. What did you desire, 3. How did you respond, 4. Did you response keep God on the throne of your heart, and if so, what fruit of the Spirit did you see in this situation?

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