An epidemic of anger has hit our nation. Permeating our society, we see a growing monster of strife and division. Rage infects our government, our churches, our homes, and our personal relationships.
Whatever the rationale, this chaos is a wrecking ball of Satan, the Great Destroyer (John 10:10) doing his ugly work. How can we cope with such chaos? How can each of us deal with anger and rage personally or corporately?
First, understand that furious chaos is not God’s way. He is not a God of confusion, but of peace, through the power of the Prince of Peace. “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Chaotic anger is actually counter-productive. It results in worsening problems, not solving them. Most anger is self-centered and is sin. Even “righteous indignation” for a good cause must be controlled by the Spirit or it will destroy, not resolve.
Secondly, practice effective prayer. This includes repentance, with God-honoring hearts and Christ-honoring behavior.
Effective prayer is described in I Timothy 2:1-8. We’re told to pray for all men, whether or not we like them. This includes “kings and all in authority.” Paul wrote this while under the brutal, heavy yoke of Emperor Nero who passionately killed Christians, including Paul. He understood the implication of what God directed him to write: pray for redemption, wisdom & peace even for the wicked rulers. We’re to pray for all that come to mind, including those in authority, even if they generate anger in us.
Effective prayer is further described in verse 8: we’re to pray with holy hands. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). Living with unconfessed, unresolved sin will shut the windows of heaven to us.
I Timothy 2:8 also states that we are to pray without vengeful anger and judgmental arguing. An angry, hostile spirit gets in the way of God’s best purpose. Negative attitudes and behavior actually limit God. Though He is sovereign, He uses us to accomplish His highest purposes through effective prayer and Spirit-directed action. For us to operate in an angry, wrong manner obstructs and grieves our Lord (Ephesians 4:29-30; II Timothy 2:24).
Ephesians 4:22-32 goes further in telling us what to “put off” and what to “put on,” as those who are called to be His. The passage sums up Christ-like attitudes to have for effective prayer and effective relationships:
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor (noisy shouting), and evil speaking be put away from you, along with all malice (desire to cause distress to someone). Instead, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Trust God to deal with the cause of your anger by first letting Him deal with you. Choose His way each day, by His strength. Christ will be honored, peace will ensue, prayers will be answered, and God’s best purpose will be accomplished in your life and in the lives of others.
By Wesley Smith
© 2018 Bible Prayer Fellowship & Wm. Wesley Smith
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