Monthly Archives: September 2012

Do You Believe in Home Security?

It is estimated that approximately one-third of Americans protect their home with some form of security system, another large percentage have firearms and other such instruments in their home for protection. Many people have alarms on their cars; and everything from bank accounts to e-mail accounts is password protected. There are constant “public interest” segments on the news dealing with security and safety involving the various aspects of one’s life and possessions. We care about our possessions and keeping them secure, though whether we are proficient at securing them may be another story.

Nevertheless, there is another area of home security that Christians need to consider: spiritual home security. Have you taken steps to secure your home spiritually? The single most important possession of any individual is the soul (Mat. 16:26); and though men will work for years to secure financial stability and security for the home, there is often a laxity when it comes to the security of the soul.

Before going further into the needs of spiritual home security, the one responsible for this great defense must first be identified. Husbands, fathers, it is you. Paul taught that husbands were to love their wives as Christ loved the church, being willing to give their lives for their mate (Eph. 5:25), this would certainly include the necessity of looking out for their spiritual welfare as well as physical. Additionally, Paul stated in the same book that fathers were to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). The word nurture means “training, instruction, preparation.” The word admonition means “exhortation, to give warning to, calling attention to something.” Fathers have the responsibility of training and preparing their children to fight the wiles of Satan and to call attention to the subtleties of the deceiver, moving them down the path of service to God.

As an aside, it is of interest to note the meaning of the term husband. It is an Old Norse conjunctive term; hus – meaning “house,” and bondi meaning “to dwell in, watch over.” The term husband was a term intended to denote, not just the male figure in the home, but the overseer and personal protector of it. Such is still the responsibility of the husband today.

Husbands and fathers, God has given you the personal responsibility of securing your home. While from the physical standpoint that may not seem so difficult, from the spiritual perspective it is truly a full-time job. Husbands: are you willing to stand up for the spiritual security of your home? It may mean that you do not take that more physically lucrative job to be able to take care of your spiritual responsibilities to your family. It may mean that you, as the head of the household, must make decisions for your family that other family members do not like or with which they do not agree. It may mean some long, hard discussions with your wife trying to decide what your family needs and what directions and goals must be set in order to fulfill that responsibility; but make no mistake, the responsibility is yours, not your wife’s. A good help meet will do everything she can to assist you along the way, but the responsibility for the direction of your family lies on your shoulders.

Fathers have the responsibility to protect their children from the directions and influences of Satan. It is the father’s responsibility to know what is going on in his own house and to strive to the best of his ability to protect his family from both physical and spiritual harm. Sometimes that can make fathers unpopular, but popularity should not be the foremost goal of fatherhood: it should be godliness.  Fathers, do you know what your children are looking at on the internet? Do you know to what music they listen, who their friends are, and the relationships they are building for the future? Are you protecting your home spiritually to educate and prepare your children for the service of God? It may mean telling your son that he cannot watch that “comedy” program filled with vulgarity and sexual innuendo; even though “everyone else” thinks it is hilarious. It may mean telling your daughter she cannot wear that top or dress because it does not meet God’s standards of modesty and acceptability; even though she (and maybe even her mother) thinks it’s cute and pretty. It may mean throwing out those movies or cd’s, or in today’s world – deleting those mp3’s, to help keep the hearts of your children pure (Phil. 4:8). Though none of these things may be popular, they are the responsibility of the father as he strives to protect his children.

There is a great deal said in Proverbs about heeding and acknowledging a father’s instruction; yet it is interesting that the word instruction is never used in regard to the mother. That is because the word is defined by Strong as “chastisement, reproof, warning, or restraint.” These things are the responsibility of the husband and father and they must be taken seriously. They should not be done with anger, resentment, or an overbearing personality; but with loving care and concern for the souls of the family, and a willingness to communicate the reasons for such actions being taken.

Do you believe in spiritual home security? Fathers, have you been the security chief your family needs? Mothers, have you been the encouragement your husband needs? Do your children see you fighting him at every turn or standing beside him as he tries to fulfill his duties to the family? We need better home security in our families, because the greatest treasures are not found in the possessions of this earth (Mat. 6:19-21), but in the spiritual welfare of our families; and that treasure is under constant attack.

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That Radical Doctor

Did you know that they have actually found a cure for cancer? A doctor in the western United States has found a chemical compound that, when mixed with water and ingested into the system, will completely remove cancer from the body. Unfortunately, when the medical journals found out about it, they scoffed. If it was that simple, they argued, it would have been discovered long before now. Additionally, the pharmaceutical and medical boards rejected it because it did not fit their scope or direction for finding a remedy to this dreaded disease. So, while doctors across the country are trying to sell people on actions and medicines that will not defeat the enemy or end the fight; the cure is there, but remains unknown because it is too radical and there must be another way.

Someone might say, “That’s ridiculous! If there was really a cure for cancer out there then the medical community would be all over it.” I would say that to the largest percentage that is true, and if this fictitious story were true it would raise an outcry from people so great that they would turn the nation upside down looking for answers as to why it was not released, why they were not told, and looking at who was to blame for the deception.

However, let me follow that up with another thought. If we would feel that way about a medicine for a disease that affects so many people in the world today; if we would not consider someone radical because they presented one single solution, not a host of them; then why, when we are faced with the greatest of all diseases, do we claim it is “radical” or “narrow-minded” for the Great Physician to say there is only one way to remove that disease and be made healthy again? Why, when we are faced with that overwhelmingly destructive power of sin and exposed to the remedy that he said was necessary, do we claim that those who present the remedy are radical and narrow-minded?

Sin is a disease that is far worse than cancer. Cancer can affect the body, but sin affects the soul. Cancer can kill you physically, sin can destroy you eternally. So why are we often more concerned with finding the cure for cancer than the cure for sin? The Great Physician has already presented the prescription, but for many it is seen as too radical. Their doctors (a.k.a. preachers) say it is not necessary, there are other ways to take care of the problem, or that the prescription is really for another disease.

What is the prescription for sin-removal? The Great Physician said: “for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24); “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47); “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 10:32); “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). There is the prescription for sin-removal: Believe, repent, confess, and be immersed in water. Then to keep sin removed we must follow him by keeping his commandments, for he told his disciples: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat. 28:20).

These are the words of the Great Physician. Nowhere in the Scriptures is the prescription of prayer for salvation, waiting until the Spirit moves you, or making up your own path found. So why do we proclaim the prescription to be radical? Why do we not, instead, heal our souls and cleanse our paths? Why do we not turn the nation upside down expecting answers of these pseudo-spiritual doctors who have been giving people nothing more than spiritual placebos for generations?

Take the time to examine the prescription for yourself. Do not look at it based upon what you have already been taught, what you have always thought, or what another “doctor” told you. What is the prescription that the only one with the authority to write such gave? Then answer the most important question of all: “Will you take the medication?”

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My Life as a Christian

When many people perceive Christianity they only view it from the standpoint of outward service. They see the times coming together for worship and Bible study; they see the actions of service performed in public or private; and often that is the only level of consideration given: what one has to do as a Christian. While those things are an integral part of the life of a Christian, they do not include one of the most important facets of true Christianity; that is: the attributes Christianity adds to the Christian’s life. Going beyond the actions and duties of serving Christ, what does being a Christian add to my life that makes it so worthwhile? Consider a few attributes added by Christianity.

My life as a Christian… is stable. The value of stability in life cannot be overstated. When one is stable in life, confidence and security grow in the heart of an individual and the life led becomes one void of fear. The stability of Christianity does not for one moment mean that the trials and struggles of life do not come; but when they do, there is a constant stabilizing force in my life that allows me to overcome all that I face. Paul put it this way: “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). As a Christian, I have an anchor for my soul (Heb. 6:19). In the tragedies of life I may lose my wealth, my family, my job, my friends, or any number of other things; but I will never lose the hand of my strength and shield as long as I remain firmly affixed to him as his servant (Psa. 18:1-2; John 10:27-28). Therefore, my life as a Christian has a stability the world cannot match or truly understand; because it is stabilized by someone outside of this physical realm.

My life as a Christian… is simple. Many people do not comprehend the simplicity of Christianity because all they see are the things one must do as a Christian, the level of work and commitment involved, and it seems anything but easy. Nevertheless, reality is sometimes far from perception, and my life as a Christian is truly quite simple. You see, every decision I make in life is guided by one central question: “What does God want me to do?” Recognizing that Christianity is not simply a title that is worn, but a lifestyle lived, allows one to greatly simplify the directions and decisions of life. Paul wrote, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). As a servant (slave) of Christ, I have agreed to make his commands the priority of my life; to live my life after my own will no longer (Phi. 3:8-11). Thus, I have the ability to live by the standard of Paul when he wrote, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content” (Phi. 4:11). It does not matter what the world says is fashionable or trending, nor does it matter what everyone else is doing, all that matters is whether or not I am fulfilling the will of my master. This simplicity brings to life the statement of Solomon when he wrote, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13). Christianity simplifies life. It does not mean every decision is easy, but it does mean that the directions are simple.

My life as a Christian… is sensational. The word “sensational” has as its first definition “outstanding, exceptionally good,” and such is truly the definition of life as a Christian. It is amazing to see the difference in the outlook on life when you are not focused on all the things you do not have; but rather, are focused on the blessings bestowed upon your life. As a Christian, I have access to all spiritual blessings made available through Christ (Eph. 1:3); I have a family that extends far beyond the reaches of physical flesh and blood (1 Pet. 3:8); I have hope that is based, not in stocks, family fortune, or business ventures, but in the assurance of my Lord that he is coming again for me (John 14:1-3; 1 The. 4:13-18). Therefore, I have an outstanding life as a servant of Christ. I have a life bearing “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Phi. 4:7).

Do these descriptions fit your life? There is no secret to living the Christian life, the only thing necessary is full dedication to the commands of God. Understand, however, that half-hearted service will not be enough. Sunday only worship will not bring one to this lifestyle of Christianity. It requires a full-time, life-long commitment to the service of Christ and the directions of his will. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat. 10:28-30). When one commits whole-heartedly to the will of Christ, he discovers just how true this statement is. It is when he tries to take on the yoke of Christ, but still retain his “freedom,” that his life fails to meet this promise. Commit yourself wholly to a life in his service, obeying his commands and fulfilling his will: you will not be disappointed.

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What will it take to get American Christians Ticking Again?

Let’s be perfectly honest: Americans are lazy. We are the people who get in the car to drive 150 feet to the mailbox; who get angry when the batteries go dead in the remote control because that means either going to the back of the house for new ones or getting up to change the channel; who cannot imagine life without restaurants that deliver. We are spoiled, comfortable, and often ignorant of the full view of how different we are from most of the world. Unfortunately, within the body of Christ in America, the same has also become quite true.

American Christians have followed their friends and neighbors into the same levels of laziness, comfort, and the other trappings of riches, when it comes to Christianity. You don’t believe me? Many of the congregations of the Lord’s church are shrinking, not growing. Studies have shown that we are losing more than 60% of our young people after they leave for college. Congregations are increasingly filled with larger percentages of senior citizens and smaller percentages of children. On and on the lists could go, but the automatic question is: why is this happening?

Friends, let’s be honest, the church is not dying. There are parts of this country where the church is still thriving and growing. The problem is not that the church is dying or becoming outdated; instead, the problem is that the church is rotting.

As a whole the Lord’s church in America has begun rotting from the inside because of lack of function. Anything that does not get used for long periods of time ceases functioning as it should; it matters not whether it is the muscles of the human body or the gears of a piece of machinery, over time things rust, deteriorate, and fall apart. Such is also the case with the body of Christ when it sits idle for long periods of time. Sadly, this has become the tale of many congregations.

The question is often asked, “What makes _______ tick?” That question could be asked of any number of people or things, but when it comes to the church a different question needs to be asked: “What will it take to get us back to ticking?”

As a whole, the church of Christ in America has become soft, lazy, and too comfortable. We do not face God’s work with a sense of urgency; we are too busy with other things. We no longer seem to understand just how lost this country is. Too often, we have convinced ourselves this is a “Christian” nation, and as such there must be far less work to do here than elsewhere. So we send missionaries around the world, believing that we have now fulfilled our call to preach the Gospel everywhere (Mark 16:15). What we fail to understand is that the Gospel is needed here more than ever.

The Lord’s church in this country numbers approximately 2 million individuals, just barely putting it into the top 10 of religious groups. In this country, the average county contains about .2% of its population as members of the church; that means, on average, for every 1,000 people – there are 2 New Testament Christians. There are a few counties where that number reaches above 5%, but you could just about count them all with the fingers on both hands. Do we really understand how few Biblical Christians there are in the United States? We live in a country where, by an overwhelming majority, your neighbors, friends, at least some of your family, classmates, co-workers, associates, and acquaintances are lost and travelling down a road to destruction. We have become too wrapped up in the “they’re good people” philosophy and have forgotten just how lost this country is.

I know this because if we really understood it, Christians would be lining up at the door to find ways they could reach everyone they know. They would be trying to find opportunities at every turn to teach someone the Gospel. Instead, when new programs are presented, opportunities afforded, or volunteers needed, we respond by asking someone else to do it: we are too busy.

I constantly hear people wonder why the church is not growing. It is not because the Gospel has stopped working, but because we have stopped spreading it, and desiring to do so. In most places, if you asked 50 people where the Lord’s church assembled, less than a handful would be able to tell you. If you asked most people if they had ever heard of the church of Christ, they would respond by asking if you were talking about the Mormons. If you think that everyone knows what you believe and why, and that the Gospel has already been preached sufficiently where you are: think again.

It is very telling to this writer when I can write an article on children behaving in the assembly and get hundreds of hits; but when an article is written about evangelism and what we can and should be doing – I’ll get 15 page views. You see, most Christians are not nearly as concerned with evangelizing the lost as they are not being disturbed during worship. It is not comfortable to think, by name, about all of those around us treading the wrong path. It is not a happy thought that we are failing in fulfilling the expectations of God. It is not convenient to discuss the urgency, not of taking the Gospel to the rest of the world, but of taking it to the people here at home.

What is it going to take to get American Christians ticking? Will it take the loss of the wealth and lifestyles to which we have become accustomed?  That time is quickly coming. Will it require the loss of our freedoms? History shows it can and has happened in the past, and history often repeats itself. Will it require the passing of the present generations to be replaced with ones who are not so comfortable with the levels of Christianity they have attained? I pray not.

This is not to say that there are not brethren working hard for the cause of Christ today: there are, but there are not nearly enough. Brethren, we can do better; we must do better. We have to stop looking at what everyone else is, or is not, doing and instead begin worrying about what we are doing. We have to stop blaming the world for the church not growing and instead look at the harsh realities ourselves. We have to get back to working as we should, to start ticking again; because the fields are still white unto harvest, but the laborers have to get back out into those fields.

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4 Ways Every Christian Can Evangelize

One of the three main parts of Christianity is evangelism: the spreading of the Gospel to those outside of Christ. It is unfortunate, but many Christians see evangelism as the preacher’s job, not theirs. Therefore, many members of the body of Christ do nothing, or very little, to actually fulfill the expectations of God to teach the truth to the lost. Some are willing, but are unsure where to start or how to reach out to others. Some have tried one method, not seen the results desired, and given up in frustration. Some have been told they cannot be effective and the things they try to do will have no impact in the overall picture of the world.

Brethren, we must be spending time and effort trying to teach the lost. It is not optional for the faithful Christian. Consider four fairly simple ways every Christian can help teach God’s Word to others.

Share it/ post it/ tweet it.  In the age of social interaction via the internet, one of the prime means by which the Gospel can be spread is online. Most people nowadays have facebook, twitter, or other social media accounts, not including their e-mail services. There are a host of articles, videos, and materials from sound brethren that are languishing in the corners of blogs, youtube channels (such as GBN’s), and church websites. They are in the shadows, not because they are not good and useful, but because the people who have seen them would not pass them to someone else. It has been my experience that every share of an article or video adds traffic to the site from friends and family who are curious or interested in the topic discussed. How is it that brethren can spend all day talking about the most mundane of earthly chores, posting pictures and graphics that do not really teach or improve anyone’s opinion on a topic, but they will not spend ten seconds to click a share button and make available the truth on an issue that affects one’s salvation and adequate service to God? Some brethren will read or watch that which is presented, say: “That’s nice,” or “like” it, but never do anything with it to benefit someone else. As members of the body of Christ, if we truly love the souls of our friends and family, we will make every attempt to place before them the truths of God’s Word by means of the myriad forms available to us.

Share tracts, books, and DVD’s.  In the same vein as the first way, this tool takes on the more conventional approach of handing something to someone. Most congregations have racks in the back gathering dust with the same material that nobody has touched in the last few (insert time frame here). Today, more congregations are moving to DVD racks over paper tracts, but the issue will remain the same if the attitude of Christians does not change. Those materials are not there for appearances, nor are they intended to be decorations. In a world where people sit in front of the tv on a daily basis, we should struggle to keep Gospel DVD’s on the rack. At a time in which attention spans seem to be so limited, solid biblical tracts should be considered among the best methods to present an individual with Scriptural truths. So why are we not utilizing them? We think they are great to have, just not to give; to see, but not to use. There are many great tracts available, and World Video Bible School, Focus Press, and others have produced many great DVD’s to present the Gospel to the world. It only takes an outstretched hand to share the truth by these methods; so why aren’t we?

Bible Correspondence Courses. In the world of internet and 24/7 electronic entertainment, the old method of BCC’s has been forgotten by many, but it is still alive and well. In many areas of the world, BCC’s are still one of the easiest and best means to teach the Gospel. Some BCC’s are now available in fully electronic internet formats; others still use the old fashioned paper and pencil, while still others try to integrate the two. How long has it been since you offered someone a BCC? Have you ever used one yourself? This is a great means of evangelism and there is always the need among brethren for more volunteers to serve as teachers for these students striving to study God’s Word. It is also an excellent way to begin incorporating teenagers into the teaching of the Gospel. Having them help grade and answer students’ questions can encourage them to be more active in other areas of participation, but also help them to experience the joy of seeing one come to an understanding of the truth and obey it. For more information on this avenue of evangelism, International Bible Teaching Ministries is an excellent work and resource.

Have discussions with friends/family.  Notice, I did not say shouting matches; screaming exercises; or maintaining an in-your-face, I’m right and you’re wrong, attitude. When was the last time you asked to just discuss/study things from the Bible? When was the last time you opened a discussion and, instead of telling what the Bible says, asked what they believe and why? This is still one of the most effective ways to bring people to Christ. Not by brow-beating them and informing them of how “stupid” they are; but with loving-kindness listening to what they believe, asking them for biblical proof of their beliefs and then searching the Scriptures to see whether those things are so. Entering a Bible discussion with the attitude that you are going to show who is right will get you nowhere, but entering one wanting to have an open and honest dialogue examining the truth of Scripture will both increase your faith and make possible the opening of doors with your friends and family.

Did you notice that none of these involved inviting your friends/family to services? Certainly there should always be the open invitation for one to come to services and hear the Gospel presented by that means; but the reality is that over 90% of those converted do not attend regularly until their conversion. Sitting back and waiting on people to come to us is a method doomed to failure. Christians must understand that the overwhelming majority of conversions take place outside the setting of one learning from a sermon while sitting in a pew. They generally come from learning the truth through time and effort spent by a friend or family member on a personal basis.

This is our job, our directive, our responsibility. What will we do with it? Every Christian has the ability to make a great impact on this world for the cause of Christ, but we must be willing to put to use the opportunities placed before us. Can God count on you to do your part? Because he has promised that if we plant and water he will give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-9).

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4 Questions for Spiritual Self-Examination

One of the most important aspects of Christianity is the necessity of being self-aware; of analyzing our own lives to see what we are doing right and what we are not accomplishing as we should. Jesus would speak about the need for this with the lesson of the mote and the beam in Matthew 7:3-5. Paul emphasized the need for this on a number of occasions. To the Corinthians he wrote, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test” (2 Cor. 13:5 ESV); he also wrote to the Galatians: “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Gal. 6:4). Therefore, it is imperative that we consistently take the time to examine our lives and actions to ensure we are living according to the standard intended by God. So take a moment to examine yourself with a few questions of spiritual self-examination.

#1 – When was the last time you read your Bible every day of the week? Hopefully this is a commonplace activity in your life and you can truthfully answer “last week.” Our ability to fulfill God’s Will is directly correlated to our knowledge and understanding of it; this cannot be accomplished without regular, diligent time with it. Christians are to be people who are able to give answers pertaining to our hope (1 Pet. 3:15), to meditate upon the words of Scripture for both personal benefit and for the benefit of others (1 Tim. 4:13-16), and to direct our lives toward the singular goal of working for the faith of the Gospel (Phi. 1:27). These things can only be accomplished when we are consistently spending time, not just reading God’s Word, but absorbing it into our hearts and imparting it in our actions.

#2 – When was the last time you spoke with someone outside of Christ about the Gospel? The second greatest responsibility the Christian has is to present the truth of the Gospel to the lost. The Lord intended every Christian to be busy proclaiming the Gospel to a lost and dying world. It is the explicit command of the Great Commission (Mat. 28:18-20). It is the example clearly presented by the 1st century church through Aquila and Priscila, Philip the Evangelist, and so many others throughout the New Testament. Unfortunately, it is an aspect of Christianity that has been largely ignored today, and in our spiritual self-examination if we have been weak in this area we must make some changes.

#3 – Who do I uphold as most important in my life? For most, the answer would automatically be “God” or “Jesus,” but since this is self-examination let’s delve a little deeper. What books do you talk about the most, the Bible or secular works? What do you quote more frequently in conversations: movie lines or Bible lines? Who do you use as examples for your kids: superheroes and cartoon characters or Biblical examples of godliness and righteousness? When surprised, angry, or hurt, what is more likely to come out of your mouth: God’s name, in full or euphemistic form, or nothing? Which are you more likely to discuss with your friends: your favorite tv show or your favorite Bible verse? You see, in all of these categories, and more that could be listed, we show to others what we uphold most in life; what we consider to be of the greatest value and interest, but also worthy of the greatest reverence and respect.

#4 – If I know something is missing/wrong in my life, will I change? This is the single most important question of the examination; because each of us, no matter our number of years as Christians or our level of commitment to God, has areas that need attention and improvement. Are we willing to make the changes necessary? Jesus was once approached by a rich young ruler about what was necessary to receive eternal life. However, when the young man was told what he needed to do he went away sad because he did not want to change his life (Mat. 19:16-22). Solomon admonished us, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18). When examining myself and my life, am I willing to make the changes and adjustments that need to be made to serve God acceptably and to grow as I should? I cannot answer that question for you, just as you cannot answer it for me. Nevertheless, if I have examined myself with the three previous questions, found flaws and shortcomings, and refuse to change my life as needed, I am telling God that I am unwilling to fully measure up to his standards and expectations. Such an attitude will not lead to the conclusion desired when standing before God in judgment.

One of the hardest things for people to do is look honestly at their lives and make changes; but such is a part of being a servant of God. God wants us to be the best we can be, that means not being willing to become content and complacent with where we are, but to ever push forward to be better in the future than we have been in the past. May God grant us the wisdom to know what is right, the courage to do it, and the will to retain it in our lives.

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Three Kinds of Anger

The term “anger” is one that is very broadly used both in intensity and emphasis. Webster defines it as, “A strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong.” Anger is an emotion common to all of us, and one which most of us struggle to control as we should; and though many will divulge the notion that all anger is wrong, such is not the teaching of Scripture. However, there are various forms of anger and differing responses to anger seen in God’s Word. These can be broken down into 3 different categories.

Inappropriate anger. This particular type of anger is one where the emotion is disproportionate to the event that caused it. It is the type of anger that is evidenced by impatience, mishaps, accidents, or other such trivial occurrences. This kind of anger is one that is not just felt, but often evidenced physically by a lack of self-control in word or action and often leads to embarrassment and apologies by the perpetrator. This form of anger is one that is regarded with staunch disapproval in Scripture. Solomon related the wisdom, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecc. 7:8-9). The individual who is quick to anger is lacking in self-control, and places their soul in a very dangerous place; for it is recorded in the Proverbs: “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Pro. 25:28 ESV). When a man will not control his emotions and reactions he is like a defenseless city. Every enemy has the ability to destroy him because he has not taken care to protect himself. Again the writer proclaims, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated” (Pro. 14:17). Those who are inappropriately angry will often say and do things that bring damage to themselves and those around them. This should not be an attribute of the servant of God.

Jealous anger. There are many kinds of jealousy mentioned in the Scriptures, and anger because of jealousy is one of the most common types of anger. The basic definition of “jealous” is that of “feeling resentment” and there are many reasons men feel resentment toward one another; the most frequent  form of which stems from one having greater possessions, prestige, or recognition. This is an impure and unholy jealousy that breeds an unrighteous anger. Many examples of this occur in Scripture: from Cain and Abel, to Saul toward David, to Joseph’s brothers. Anger born of this type of jealousy deteriorates into hatred and rage which breeds sin every time, as evidenced in the prior examples. As Solomon stated, “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming; but who can stand before jealousy?” (Pro. 27:4). Allowing this type of jealousy to be stirred into the mixture of anger and wrath (which are not the same thing), that which comes forth is neither pleasant nor righteous.

Righteous anger. This form of anger is one that comes because of the recognition of sin. It is the emotion felt when there has been a betrayal of people’s relationship with God, their vows to their spouse, or their responsibilities to their family. It is not an emotion that is based in unrighteous desires, nor does it come from baseless circumstances. This is the anger seen in the Old Testament by God toward the children of Israel; as they entered a covenant with him and then constantly broke their promises and went after idols like a married man going to a prostitute. This form of anger is not one that centers itself in the desire for revenge, or in the desire to harm another, but in the desire for righteousness and justice.

Anger because of unrighteous deeds does not make acceptable unrighteous actions on the part of the angry party. Paul wrote, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph. 4:26). Though anger because of sin is acceptable and understandable, sin because of anger is not. Specifically, in this context, Paul is discussing lying. The argument he is making is that just because somebody has violated God’s Law and mistreated you, does not give you the right to mistreat them in return. Lies and other ways by which people get revenge on those who mistreat them are no more right than the sins initially perpetrated against them.

It is interesting to note that the only time Jesus is described as being angry is in Mark 3:5, because of the hardness of the hearts of the Jews. Yet he did not lash out at them in anger, but healed a man as proof of his point. The occasion when many accuse Jesus of anger, the cleansing of the temple from the moneychangers, bears no mention of anger in Jesus; just righteous judgment against those who had made that holy place “a den of thieves.”

As Ephesians 4:26 also denotes, we cannot allow anger and wrath to remain in us. As was previously mentioned, wrath and anger are not the same. Anger is the emotion of passionate displeasure at the situation, whereas wrath involves the desire to lash out in retaliation for the perceived wrong. It is not simply an emotion but an emotion that incorporates an action. We cannot retain anger and wrath inside us, because even if it stems from righteous sources it will fester and bring forth wickedness. Thus the reason why we are not to let the sun set while retaining our anger or wrath, we cannot let such emotions carry over and fester, therefore we must put them away from us, not embrace them (Eph. 4:31).

Anger is a natural emotion. It is one that is appropriate and acceptable in certain situations; but anger does not excuse unrighteous deeds, nor does it make allowances for inappropriate speech or retaliation. There are things that should kindle anger within us, but that anger must be tempered with self-control and respect for God’s Law. Therefore, our anger must not lead to desire for retaliation or vengeance, but justice with Godly judgment.

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