Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 20, 2013 … When Anger Is Our Warning Light

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 110

Passage of the Day: Ecclesiastes 7: 9 [NLT] …  
9 Don’t be quick-tempered, for anger is the friend of fools. 
Contextual Study of today’s passage: Ecclesiastes, Chapter 7 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: 2nd Timothy 1: 7 : [Anger from loss of control is our OWN spirit, never God’s warning message] …[NKJV] …  
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 

Reference Passage #2: Psalm 4: 4 : [Also quoted by Paul in Eph. 4: 26.] …[NLT] …  
4 Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.

My Journal for Today: Ever had one of those warning lights go on in the dashboard of your car, warning you that something was wrong in the engine or the workings of your car? When it happens, don’t you feel so very out of control – unless you happened to be a trained mechanic who knows exactly what to do and you can do it yourself? But most of us – certainly me! – feel like we need immediate help when we see one of those warning lights on our dashboard.

Well, Os Hillman, in his workplace devotional for today, uses this word picture of anger being like God’s dashboard warning light when we feel SELF-DIRECTED anger going off in our emotional dashboard. And I’m careful here, qualifying the concept of anger with the capitalized qualifier, because there is a type of anger, “SELFLESS” or “RIGHTEOUS” anger, which Jesus even displayed when He cleansed the Temple of God. Such feelings of anger are directed outwardly toward elements of the world which are an affront to God. This type of anger is a RIGHTEOUS anger; and it does not lead to sin because it is God’s Spirit, through His grace of enlightenment and discernment, leading us into action for God’s glory, … just as the Spirit did for Jesus as our Lord was led to cleanse the Temple of thieves who were desecrating His Father’s House of Worship.

However, the type of anger, to which Hillman (and yours truly) is describing here is the more common, inwardly directed, feelings which occur when we FEAR that we are personally and inwardly out of control. And when this happens, we desire – in our flesh – to regain personal, inward control by striking out in some way impulsively and angrily toward others. Let me give any reader here a personal example to illustrate when anger becomes a warning light that we’re headed toward selfish and sinful self-control issues.

 When I was 15 years old and had an Indiana state learner’s permit to drive with an adult in the car supervising my driving, my father took me to Indianapolis, the big city, to help me learn how to drive in a metropolitan area. Well, at one stop light, when the light turned green and I began to enter an intersection, a foolish driver ran the light in front of me and we almost hit him (also because I accelerated a bit too quickly and rapidly). Well, I hit the breaks to avoid the accident (which we did); and immediately – in anger – I slammed the wheel and loudly declared some colorful expletive, which I don’t recall and couldn’t likely print here anyway. And all my father quietly – in control – said was, “Did he hear you?”

What my dad was trying to teach me – and he did – was that my anger did nothing to effect the person who ran the light. And my feelings, expressed because of my fear of loss of control, did nothing but hurt ME emotionally and did nothing to communicate my feelings to the perpetrator of the incident in question. And this is very often the case when anger leads us to behave in ways which damage our abilities to discern reasonable corrective action in any incident where we feel or fear we’re out of control. And I’d almost bet, right now, some personal experience is coming to mind where you remember reacting – in anger – because you feared the loss of personal control in your life.

Hillman’s right. When we feel really angry, we ought to train ourselves to let the anger be God’s warning light for us to evaluate exactly what’s going wrong under the hood of our life and likely why we’re feeling the way we’re feeling – also likely because we fear we’re out of control. Our anger may be God trying to blink a warning light for us to get help – and maybe to find a Spiritual repair technician or counselor. O maybe it’s God’s Spirit trying to provoke our willingness to take the time to go to God, His word, and especially THE COUNSELOR, God’s Holy Spirit, for a diagnosis of why we feel the way we feel. In this way we can carry out the warnings found above in the references passages of Psalm 4: 4, Eph. 4: 26, and 2nd Timothy 1: 7.

I’m convicted; … how about you?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, please be my warning-light to help me avoid letting my own feelings get in the way of Your Spirit guiding me to do only what glorifies You. … Amen

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