March Madness—A Biblical Course in Anger Management: Our Thoughts
Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9
There’s a time and place to be angry—at the right moment and to the right degree—but our anger is often destructive, for “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20, NIV). We get angry about politics; our traffic snarls exasperate us; and daily life has its own tensions. Eruptions of anger may be understandable, but they can damage our most precious relationships.
The first way of dealing with madness this March is recognizing that the anger isn’t contained in our circumstances; it’s contained in our hearts. The circumstances—a rude caller, a bounced check, a burnt biscuit—may provoke our anger, but the real source is the underlying rage in our own spirits. Anger begins in our minds and thoughts.
The best way, then, for dealing with anger is to fill the mind with God’s Word. If you need some anger management, open your Bible and seriously search out its best verses about anger. Start with Ecclesiastes 7:9 and James 1:20, then check out Ephesians 4:25-32. Find some verses to commit to memory, and let God use His words to bring healing to your angry thoughts.
Anger is short-lived in a good man. Thomas Fuller, Puritan
Don’t Be Playing the Fool When It Comes to Your Anger (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
[Wisdom] is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Proverbs 3:14
Buried treasure. It sounds like something out of a children’s storybook. But eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn claims to have left a box of jewels and gold, worth up to $2 million, somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Many people have gone in search of it. In fact, four people have lost their lives trying to find the hidden riches.
The author of Proverbs gives us reason to stop and think: Does any kind of treasure merit such a quest? In Proverbs 4, a father writing to his sons about how to live well suggests that wisdom is one thing worth seeking at any cost (v. 7). Wisdom, he says, will lead us through life, keep us from stumbling, and crown us with honor (vv. 8–12). Writing hundreds of years later, James, half-brother of Jesus and leader in the early church, also emphasized the importance of wisdom. “The wisdom that comes from heaven,” he writes, “is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). When we seek wisdom, we find all kinds of good things flourishing in our lives.
To seek wisdom is ultimately to seek God, the source of all wisdom and understanding. And the wisdom that comes from above is worth more than any buried treasure we could ever imagine.
Are you actively seeking God’s wisdom? How can you do so today?
Sometimes followers of Christ get the wrong idea about their role versus God’s role. They may think that God is sitting on His throne, waiting to meet their needs when they call on Him. Although He is a loving Father who provides for us, we must be careful not to assume He exists to serve us.
The reality is that we exist for God. He created us for His purposes and has equipped every believer to serve Him in some fashion. According to Ephesians 2:10, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Everything about us has been designed by God to equip us for the work He preordained long before our birth.
• He created each of us with the exact personality and body we would need to fulfill His purpose for our life.
• God has equipped us with the strengths, abilities, and talents necessary to do what He planned for us.
• The Holy Spirit has given us spiritual gifts with which to serve one another in the church.
• Every experience in our life is used by God to equip us for doing His will. Both the pleasant and difficult times shape our character, mature us spiritually, and train us to help others.
God uniquely created each of us, and He’s provided us with everything we need to serve and glorify Him. All we must do is step out in obedience with full reliance on His grace and power.
“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:19)
It is a very serious error to try to add some new revelation to God’s written Word, as many cults and false religions do. This is the warning of verse 18 (see also Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6).
It is even more dangerous, as shown in the above text (the third from the last verse of the Bible), to delete (or even dilute) any of the words of the Bible. Note that the warning emphasizes the words, not just the thoughts. The sad fact is that a great many liberal theologians, especially in the past hundred years or so, have been doing just that, thinking thereby to make Christianity more compatible with modern science and philosophy. But they are literally playing with fire—this same book had just warned that any whose names do not remain in the book of life will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Tragically, many of the sections they seek to “take away” are the references to hell.
God has promised to guard His Word against any such deletions. “The words of the LORD are pure words: . . . Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Psalm 12:6-7).
There are also many who would not try to take away any of the words from the text, but who then dilute their intended meaning in order to attract unbelieving intellectuals. This also is dangerous. Peter warns against those who would “wrest, . . . scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). We must never forget the words of the Bible are “pure words,” meaning just what they say. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God [God-breathed], and is profitable . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16). HMM
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.
Human nature being what it is, the man of God may soon adopt an air of constant piety and try to appear what the public thinks he is. The fixed smile and hollow tones of the professional cleric are too well known to require further mention.
All this show of godliness, by the squeeze of circumstances and through no fault of the man himself, may become a front behind which the man hides, a plaintive, secretly discouraged and lonely soul. Here is no hypocrisy, no intentional double living, no actual desire to deceive. The man has been mastered by the circumstances. He has been made the keeper of other people’s vineyards but his own vineyard has not been kept. So many demands have been made upon him that they have long ago exhausted his supply. He has been compelled to minister to others while he himself is in desperate need of a physician. GTM115
Lord, I pray for pastors everywhere today who are indeed exhausted and depleted. The task is so overwhelming and the demands so extreme. Come today with a fresh breath of Your Spirit to refresh, renew and restore. Amen.
To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.—Luke 1:77-79.
I believe that love reigns, and that love will prevail. I believe that He says to me every morning, “Begin again thy journey and thy life; thy sins, which are many, are not only forgiven, but they shall be made, by the wisdom of God, the basis on which He will build blessings.”
There is no thirst of the soul so consuming as the desire for pardon. The sense of its bestowal is the starting-point of all goodness. It comes bringing with it, if not the freshness of innocence, yet a glow of inspiration that nerves feeble hands for hard tasks, a fire of hope that lights anew the old high ideal, so that it stands before the eye in clear relief, beckoning us to make it our own. To be able to look into God’s face, and know with the knowledge of faith that there is nothing between the soul and Him, is to experience the fullest peace the soul can know. Whatever else pardon may be, it is above all things admission into full fellowship with God.
Charles H. Brent.
“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” Matt. 6:3, 4
No promise is made to those who give to the poor to be seen of men. They have their reward at once, and cannot expect to be paid twice.
Let us hide away our charity; — yes, hide it even from ourselves. Give so often and so much as a matter of course, that you no more take note that you have helped the poor than that you have eaten your regular meals. Do your alms without even whispering to yourself, “How generous I am!” Do not thus attempt to reward yourself. Leave the matter with God, who never fails to see, to record, and to reward. Blessed is the man who is busy in secret with his kindness: he finds a special joy in his unknown benevolences. This is the bread, which eaten by stealth, is sweeter than the banquets of kings. How can I indulge myself today with this delightful luxury? Let me have a real feast of tenderness and flow of soul.
Here and hereafter the Lord, Himself, will personally see to the rewarding of the secret giver of alms. This will be in His own way and time; and He will choose the very best. How much this promise means it will need eternity to reveal.