The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 9/29

Posted on | September 29, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 9/29

Scripture reading: John 2:13–17

Angry Sheep

Be angry and do not sin . . . (Ephesians 4:26)

Some have suggested that we live in the “age of rage.” We see ugly manifestations of anger on highways, in schools, at work, on talk radio, at the dinner table, and at congregational meetings. People urge us to deal with anger in different ways: stifle it, express it, manage it, count to ten, etc. Perhaps the most cynical advice is conveyed in the slogan, “Don’t get angry, get even.”

The Bible teaches that the real problem with anger is not the emotion; rather, what really matters is the provocation (Why am I angry?) and the expression (How will I manifest my anger?). For those who desire guidance in dealing with anger, the best place to go is to Jesus. On at least four occasions he became visibly upset. Because he was without sin, we know that his anger was holy and pure. And yet it was still hot! Because the goal of salvation is to be conformed to the image of Christ, it stands to reason that our anger should be like his as well. Examining those occasions when Jesus got angry helps me to better understand both when and how anger should find a place in my life. Jesus got angry at:

,. Hypocrisy (John 2:13–17). Few things inflamed the passions of Jesus more than people who professed to love and serve God and yet lived lives that contradicted their testimony. During his ministry on earth, Jesus’ wrath was reserved not so much for pagans and unbelievers, but rather for pious hypocrites: those whose walk was not in sync with their talk.
,. Those who shut the doors of the Kingdom to others (Mark 10:13–16). When Jesus learned that his own disciples were hindering mothers from bringing their children to him for a blessing, he became “indignant.” His anger was hot toward those who devalued and depersonalized the young, the poor, the weak, the handicapped, and the marginalized.
,. Those who resisted truth by hardening their hearts (Mark 3:5). Jesus became visibly upset when those who had the opportunity to embrace the truth refused to honestly consider its claims. Such people incurred his anger
. . . and his grief.
,. Those who willfully rejected salvation and refused to repent and believe the Gospel. In John’s vision of the final judgment, the opening of the sixth seal will be a moment of utter terror for many inhabitants on the earth. Many who had been wealthy and powerful during their lives will scream in terror as they are confronted by “the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:14–16). An angry lamb may sound like an oxymoron but when Jesus comes back to judge the earth, the Lamb of God will come as the Lion of Judah!

So the next time you feel a rush of anger coming on, before you explode, stuff it, or vow to get even, pause and pray: “Lord, is this something that would make you angry? If not, then help me to let it go. However if it is, then enable me to be just as upset about this as you are and to express my emotions without sin.”

A man that does not know how to be angry does not know how to be good. Now and then a man should be shaken to the core with indignation over things evil. —Henry Ward Beecher

point to ponder • What is it that makes you angry? Do you find yourself automatically assuming that your anger is righteous anger? Take some time to again consider when and why Jesus got angry. Do his reasons match up with yours?

prayer focus • Invite Christ to continue to conform you to his image. It will become more clear to you when your anger is self-indulging, and when it is righteous as Jesus’ anger was.

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