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Dealing With Our Problems Biblically: Anger, Part 3

April 28, 2015

Grace to you! As we’ve been looking at our anger from a biblical perspective, we’ve seen that most of our anger is sinful. We’ve also noted that neither our biology nor our circumstances can make us angry. In all honesty, we always freely choose to be angry. The heart of the issue is the issue of our hearts. What drives our behavior (such as getting angry) is what’s going on inside of us. But what are the things that drive our heart? What is it in our hearts the move us to get angry? Let’s take a look.

James 4 speaks clearly here. “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-4) The issue that drives us to be angry is our wants and desires! It’s not other people or my situation. It’s that I am wanting something so much I will sin to get it. Or, I am desiring something so much if I don’t get it, I’m going to sin with anger!

This is the root issue of our behavior problems regarding anger. We have made an idol of something, a circumstance, a person, a want, a thing, etc so much that it now rules us. When that desire is not fulfilled, we sin. Now here’s where it can get tricky. We all understand that there are sinful things at times we desire and know that those things in themselves are rebellious to even pursue. But do we also know that even good things, good desires, and good goals can likewise lead us to sinful anger? It can happen because we can want a good thing too much! Paul says, “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23) Paul is saying even good things can become an idol for you. And when they become that strong of a desire, even if they are good, they become what you worship and serve. And whatever you give yourself to that is the thing you become enslaved to. (See Romans 6:16)

So how do we handle our anger? We return God to His rightful place in our lives as number one. We turn away from making anything we desire, want, etc that captures our heart more than the blessed Lord Jesus. Whether they are bad desires or good desires, all things have to give way to the Redeemer who died for us so that we might live for Him. When we change what, or rather Who, we live for, then our anger will automatically disappear!

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