(The following is an outline of the message that was preached on October 25, 2020, by Michael Larsen.)
Faith in Times of Testing – Part 7
Text: James 1:19-20 "My dear brothers and sisters, always be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to get angry because human anger will never bring about the righteous life that God desires."
The title of this series is Faith in Times of Testing, and today we're going to continue to look at Anger Management.
We all get angry sometimes. Often our anger is not appropriate, for example, when we get angry due to impatience or frustration or hurt pride. However, sometimes we should get angry but don’t, about things like racial injustice or sexual immorality or preventable suffering for the hungry and the sick. Whether our anger is justified and appropriate or not, we want our words and actions to reflect well on our faith in Christ.
We want to learn how to respond wisely, appropriately, and righteously when we’re angry.
So how do I grow a faith that helps me to control my anger? Last time we looked at the first 3 of six biblical principles of anger management.
The first was . . .
1. Realize the cost of uncontrolled anger.
You lose a lot when you lose your temper. You lose the respect of others, the love of family members, your job, even your health. But it also causes us to fall short of our Christian calling. Losing our temper makes us less like Jesus, and that’s not acceptable.
2. Resolve to manage it.
You make a deliberate choice ahead of time to start controlling your anger.
3. Reflect before reacting.
In other words think before you speak.
James 1:19-20 says, "My dear brothers and sisters, always be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to get angry because human anger will never bring about the righteous life that God desires."
Notice, three phrases.
First, be quick to listen.
Second, be slow to speak.
Third, be slow to get angry.
Three questions to ask yourself when you're angry.
1. Why am I angry?
2. What do I really want?
3. How can I get it?
Now here is the fourth principle.
4. Release my anger appropriately.
The problem isn't our anger, the problem is inappropriate release of it. Ephesians 4:26 says, "If you become angry, don't let your anger lead you into sin." The Bible says in Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up."
5. Re-pattern your mind.
You need to learn to think in new ways. The way you express your anger right now is a learned response, you learned it. Most likely, you picked up some bad habits from your parents. Maybe they weren’t Christians and they modeled a lot of inappropriate ways of handling anger and conflict. Now since you learned how to show anger you can unlearn, and learn new, better ways of anger management.
Romans 12:2. "Don't copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." You have to re-pattern your mind in order to achieve permanent anger management.
6. Ask God to fill you with His love.
This is the real secret of God's power to change you from an angry person into a peaceful person, a calm person, a composed person, a heart at peace.
1 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Love is not easily angered."
Romans 15:5, "Patience and encouragement come from God. I pray that God will help you all agree with each other the way Christ Jesus wants."
God wants us to live in harmony. What am I saying? Your relationship to Christ will determine how patient you are. Your relationship to Christ will determine how well you master the anger in your life. The good news is that even in a crisis, where people are out of work and kids are at home and people are having to be in isolation, you can change with God's love inside you.