Angela from Meetingintheclouds.wordpress.com had this to say in response to one of the posts in this series. “When I became a Christian my life changed COMPLETELY – (thankfully!)
_I_ didn’t change. I had no part in it. HE changed me: His life IN me changed me.”
She brings out a powerful truth about life with her comment. We can all acknowledge the need to change certain things about our lives. But without Jesus actively working in our lives, lasting change is not possible. In the end what I will achieve in this life will be a reflection of His work in me not an evaluation of my work (Eph. 2:10). In short, I achieve more when I trust than when I strive.
That said Paul gives us benchmarks to trust for in Ephesians chapter 4.
“don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil….. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:26,27,29-32 NLT
Paul encourages us to stop letting anger control our lives. Specifically he lets us know that God would have us: stop swearing, stop being hard or cruel in our dealings, and stop complaining about people behind their backs even if what we have to say is true! Instead we are to pray for the spirit of love, joy and kindness to reign over us.
I am always amazed at how practical God can get with our lives. Christianity is not some nebulous philosophy that leaves people doing whatever seems good to them. It’s a relationship with a Father who runs His household after a fashion He has established. He wants His world to be a certain way. He wants His people to live in harmony with that way even though it is not the current “way of the world”.
With the whole world stacked against us, living Christian is not only difficult it’s impossible; That’s why Christ died. His death not only purchases us forgiveness but releases into us a new life that overcomes the world. John 16:33
Going back to the anger thing, we live in an angry society that is constantly pushing us to react in rage. Our only ability to hold peace comes from the fact that Jesus in us calms the storm when we turn our attentions away from this exacerbating world and look to Him who has overcome it.
Have you overcome anger? How did Jesus help you?
Well, I loved Angela’s comment. Isn’t she a treasure? 🙂 And that is one of the prayers I pray a lot. . .For Him to change me. I know it is Him doing it because the things He changes (my attitudes, my priorities, how I respond, etc. etc.) are things that I may want to change, but fail to time and time again, in my own strength. So I guess that is my answer to your question about anger. I ask Him to change me. I ask Him to give me a new love for someone if I’m struggling.
God bless you and this wonderful gotta stand series!
…And as we ask He does move in our lives and change us. Sometimes I don’t even realize I am changing until I am well into the transformation. I look back and say “Wow what happened?” Thanks for shring Deb!
By the way Angela is a treasure! 🙂 I am so glad she has become a commentator
This series is so good it really does hit home in so many ways. Jesus helps me overcome anger by praying alot and I admit sometimes I am yelling my prayers. JESUS HELP ME and FILL ME WITH YOUR PEACE. Recently my son has had alot of anger issues secondary to a medication. I found yelling for help didn’t help but I did find that whispering to Jesus did, especially whispering in tongues. I could feel the peace come right over us. Now if anger shows it’s ugly head I immediately start to whisper and my son asks Jesus to give him peace in his heart. So many times we react and my prayer is that God will have me respond in love each time. It’s amazing how God uses situations to show us how to respond in love and he will use it as a teaching moment for our children. Thank you God for hearing my whispers.
He does hear our whispers. In the face of our raging He whispers peace. Thanks Deb. for sharing the Holy Spirit’s answers to you.
Thanks, Pastor J
“I am always amazed at how practical God can get with our lives. ”
And I’ve learned even more amazed as I followed you through this series.
His directions are simple, straightforward and very doable. Why do we make it so complicated?
Praying I will be keen to allow Him to daily renew this mind and cleanse this heart. The steps may be doable, but I can’t do them on my own.
We do complicate things don’t we Ann? Complication seems to be an implicit part of the fall. As soon as we get away from Jesus our pathway becomes tangled and turn about. We need God to help us keep it simple!
Firstly, thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I know that you know that this is actually a praise to the Lord because it is HIS work in me and nothing of me.
You answered your own question with this:
>> “With the whole world stacked against us, living Christian is not only difficult it’s impossible; That’s why Christ died. His death not only purchases us forgiveness but releases into us a new life that overcomes the world. John 16:33”
There is NO WAY in the world that I could have overcome anger or changed anything about me and my nature. It was an IMPOSSIBILITY.
Praise God, He delights in impossibilities. It is through HIS life IN me that victory is possible. When we allow Him His rightful place, HE overcomes and WE get the benefits.
What an amazing God!
You are most welcome Angela! Praise be to the Lord for what He has done in both of our lives. It is true that Jesus does this work in us and yet we do have a part and I have come to understand it is not small thing. That thing is to trust…to believe…to receive by faith the redeeming work of God. To lay claim to it…reckon it so and just live!
Before I came to the Lord I was angry and frightened and rebellious. I did nothing to change this–but change I did. When the Holy Spirit took up residence within me He brought to me the gift of a quiet and gentle spirit. No more anger, fear, or rebellion…all His grace and mercy.
This is an awesome testimony Patricia! The fruits of the Spirit are His, grafted into us by a loving God. We don’t muster them up or make them appear we just receive them and give them room to grow. I think the reason so much Christian fruit is stunted is simply because we try so hard to do what only the Savior can accomplish that we squeeze him right out of the equation.