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– Be angry, and do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath.  For anger rests in the bosom of fools God has no pleasure in. – Ephesians 4:26, Ecclesiastes 7:19, and Ecclesiastes 5:4

– A moment of anger can destroy a lifetime of work, whereas a moment of love can break barriers that took a lifetime to build. – Leon Brown

“Anger” has many negative connotations attached to it.  It can mean to irk, irritate, or infuriate.  It can be indignation provoked by perceived unfairness.  Even though it can conjure up images of ungodly behavior, anger does not always birth sin.  What matters to God is how we handle any anger before going to bed.

There are several forms of good anger, such as in instances of moral injustice or righteous indignation. Christ was justly upset when casting out those who bought and sold within God’s temple (Luke 19:45). Overthrowing the tables of the money changers, and upsetting the seats of the dove sellers (Mark 11:15).

However, our Father’s anger is always right, perfect, and true (Deuteronomy 32:4), even though He is slow to wrath (Psalm 103:8).  Long suffering towards all, not wanting us to perish (2 Peter 3:9).  Always ready to pardon (Nehemiah 9:17), if we turn from our sin and don’t offend Him anymore with it (Job 34:31).

On the other hand, Christian anger is generally a manifestation of flesh – and not Spirit.  Although it’s understandable (Galatians 5:17), it does not make it acceptable.  Human wrath is typically rooted in the world – not the Word.  Something or somebody is causing feelings of annoyance, hostility, or discontent.

Souls are like container vessels that can only hold so much in.  Once filled to the brim, something spills out in word or action.  The mouth will always speak out of the heart’s abundance (Luke 6:45).  The longer any anger resides inside, the more it gets pent-up like a spiritual pressure cooker ready to burst any second.

Anyone in such a volatile state within can go through what appear to be a string of normal days outwardly. Nothing much seems to be bugging them externally. However, they’ve foolishly left anger unaddressed nightly for a week.  It can detonate at the worst time, directed at one who is not the cause of their wrath.

It can result in instant fireworks.  The fuse ignited by anger days before – sparked by another person or situation – finally hits the bundle of dynamite sticks in the heart and everything blows up without warning. The one who explodes not only hurts the innocent party with words, but is left scrambling to save face.

This is wrath that doesn’t work the righteousness of God (James 1:20).  This is a type of anger keeping some wrapped up in unrighteous rage throughout their life.  Keeping them playing hurtful, harmful games of trying to get even with others – instead of leaving all vengeance to God (Hebrews 10:30-31).

Unless it is taken care off, all anger can start ticking like a time bomb in the heart.  It starts behaving like a spiritual toxin if it isn’t brought up and addressed on a regular basis (lead verse).  Toxins can easily create disease.  Physical ones harm the health of a human body; spiritual ones harm the health of a human soul.

Harboring unrighteous anger in the heart as the sun sets, is allowing it to be unaddressed with whomever or whatever it is focused upon – and with God.  It has to be brought up.  The longer wrath rests in a soul, the more foolishness it births.  Any Christian folly isn’t faith.  It gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27)

Our days on this earth are evil.  Therefore, we are to walk circumspectly – not foolishly (Ephesians 5:15-16).  Anger born of folly corrupts production of the spiritual fruits God commands us to bring forth meet for repentance – and which are to remain (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30, Matthew 3:8, John 15:16).

However, even righteous anger has to be watched very closely so we don’t get too high-minded and start jumping to conclusions.  We rarely have all the facts needed to justify wrath – right or wrong – while everything is naked before Him (Hebrews 4:12-13). Things aren’t always as they seem (Joshua 22:6-34).

There is an old saying of “cooler heads prevail” and it’s why we have to keep our anger in constant check so we don’t sin.  We are being purified as Christians through the blood of Jesus, but we will never be as perfect (1 Peter 1:19).  Having any kind of mind like this means God’s truth isn’t in us (1 John 1:8,10).

Does our Father give us ways to address and handle anger so we keep it at bay?  Yes – He does.  There are several throughout His Word, but perhaps one of the best remedies is to remember the words of David: “Stand in awe and do not sin.  Commune with your heart upon your bed – and be still (Psalm 4:4).”

In Psalm 77:6, we read “I call to remembrance my song in the night.  I commune with my own heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.”  If we do these and can’t find our anger source, then we ask God to make intercession.  To reveal deep and secret things only He can see (Daniel 2:22, Romans 8:26-27).

Although there are many other ways (e.g. Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 15:1, Philippians 4:8-9), remember we do not know what any day will bring (Proverbs 27:1) that could arouse angry behavior.  Our soul has to be kept in a constant state of peace and calm.  If it’s being filled with the world, wrong wrath emerges.

Anger is a very complex issue and its triggering factors are many.  It’s a topic far too broad to cover here and this piece is not intended to proclaim of knowing all the causes and answers concerning wrath. However, bottled up anger is a joy and peace stealer, and it can shipwreck relationships beyond repair.

As God tells us in the lead verse, we can be angry, but we cannot let the sun set on it.  We have to come to grips with it before going to sleep.  Wrath will rob us of rest required to walk soberly with Him the next day.  Instead, we will wake up stressed and tense due to anger left lingering in our soul during the night.

Unaddressed, unconfessed anger to others and God – and left uncorrected before retiring in the evening – is a catalyst for committing sin the next morning.  We’ll likely leave the house meditating on the wrath; not the Word.  Sin always lies waiting at our front door (Genesis 4:7), and withholds good (Jeremiah 5:25).

Remember a lot of unrighteous anger in life can put us in a lot of contention with other people – or God. This is nothing more than pride (Proverbs 13:10).  It frequently creates conflict and friction, and leads to disagreements within relationships – even with Jesus – because life just is not going exactly as wanted.

Who is ever going to get mad, angry, or upset when everything is going precisely the way they desire (Psalm 23:1, James 1:4)?  So, if wrath exists before the sun sets, it might mean swallowing some pride and taking a bite of humble pie.  Visiting or calling a person we’re angry at, to hear their side of the story.

This is showing grace, and how we grow in it (2 Peter 3:18) – so we don’t wallow in wrath day after day.  If we are Christians, then we’ve been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We have been given the only power we’ll ever get to put off things like lying, anger, wrath and filthy talk from our mouth (Colossians 3:8-9).

In conclusion, remember our Father above is always ready to pardon us, gracious and merciful, and slow to anger (Nehemiah 9:17).  As Christians, we are to be the same way to everyone else, no matter if they fail to do the same in return.  Otherwise, we are not learning Jesus as commanded (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Repeated troubles and problems dealing with anger, and letting it go, shows this is not being done.  One may be hearing and studying a lot about truth, but never applying it to life from the inside out (2 Timothy 3:7).  More wrath is likely in store until it is finally dealt with as God commands; before each day ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Who did hinder you, that you should not obey the truth?  This persuasion does not come from Him who called you. – Galatians 5:7-8

– Wherefore we would have come unto you – even I, Paul, once and again – but Satan hindered us. – 1 Thessalonians 2:18

We can never blame any disobedience to God – on God.  Our Father’s commands aren’t meant to grieve us (1 John 5:3), but to grow us up in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  To stop us from serving sin (Romans 6:6) by serving Him, and to keep us humbly obedient until death like Jesus (Philippians 2:8).  Thus, He’ll never hinder our obedience (lead verse); never tempting us to commit any sinful, disobedient act (James 1:13).

If we are ever persuaded to disobey God; then do – it is from sinful lust still in us.  It hasn’t been confessed for forgiveness (1 John 1:9), then corrected with His chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11).  If God punishes to right us, then we go out and disobey the same way, we offend Him again with sin.  We did not learn our lesson (Job 34:31).  It means we’re still conformed to this world in some fashion or form (Romans 12:2).

Satan hinders us from many things (2 Corinthians 12:7, second lead verse) such as obeying God.  If we’re drawn away from Him by lust, we have been enticed by the devil and erred from God’s way.  Lust conceived brings forth sin.  Sin when finished brings forth death (James 1:14-16).  Succumbing to worldly temptation means we’ve yielded to tools Satan uses to swerve us away from His truth (1 Timothy 1:5-6).

The devil gets advantage of us if we become ignorant of such devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Failing to obey God means we have failed to resist Satan so he will flee (James 4:7).  We have failed to put on our whole armor of God each day.  We have not done everything our Father commands to withstand the devil, and his fiery darts of disobedience during our evil days upon this earth (Ephesians 6:13-18, Matthew 6:34).

We give plenty of place to Satan when we disobey God (Ephesians 4:27), because we’ve chosen to serve and worship him more than God, changing His truth into a lie (Romans 1:25).  If so, God has power to make us sin so many other ways (Romans 1:26-31). Despite knowing His judgement of death against such; we do them.  Taking pleasure because we still prefer worldly lust over godly love (Romans 1:32).

Each time we willfully sin as Christians, we turn aside after Satan again (1 Timothy 5:15).  This, after we had been released from his power (Acts 26:18) upon being born again (John 3:5).  When we disobey this way, we have departed from our Father in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19) – counting the blood of the new covenant as unholy (Hebrews 10:27-29).  There’ll never be another final sin sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10).

Hinder means to create difficulties for something or someone, causing delays or obstructions.  Tragically, there’ll always be Christians who think God’s promise of sending Jesus back is still far off – or never going to happen (Ezekiel 12:27-28, 2 Peter 3:4).  They say in heart, “The Lord delays His coming (Luke 12:45)” – so they delve into disobedience without delay, as if there’s no more hell to pay (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

God will never create difficulties for us, causing us grief or affliction, without reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  If there is anything hindering us in bringing forth all the spiritual fruits He commands us to produce – meet for our repentance unto salvation, we cannot point fingers at Him (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Matthew 3:8).  We can’t say “What are You doing (Job 9:12)?” – as if He is at fault.

Why?  Because the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement … but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness (2 Peter 2:9).  There is condemnation to Christians who live as such – and it still leads to death if unconfessed and uncorrected.  Only mortifying the deeds of the body through the Spirit leads to life (Romans 8:1,12-13).

If there is any hindrance to this, it is only because we still want to keep on living in the world like we always have.  Loving its things (1 John 2:15-16) and filled with our own ways.  This is why believers backslide – often perpetually (Proverbs 14:14, Jeremiah 8:5). Leaving little in Satan’s way to hinder him and lead worldly Christians away in err (2 Peter 3:17); and making a shipwreck of their faith (1 Timothy 1:19).

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

–  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

– A change in external circumstances without inner renewal is the materialist’s illusion.  As though man were only a product of his social circumstance, and nothing else. – Jurgen Moltmann

Magazine subscriptions only last so long.  If we don’t fill out a renewal form and submit it to the publisher before one runs out, we will not receive any new editions.  The subscription will stop or be interrupted. This can be intentional or unintentional.  We don’t want the magazine anymore, or we forget to renew.

If we are born-again (John 3:5), then we started becoming new creatures in Jesus the second we received this gift of the Holy Ghost from God (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We began submitting to a steady spiritual process of inner change and renewal.  This is called repentance and remission of sins (Mark 1:4).

Our repentance is to be done zealously (Revelation 3:19).  If we refuse, we will perish (Zephaniah 3:2, Luke 13:3,5, Hebrews 12:25).  We are renewed through the washing of regeneration by God’s living water (John 7:38) inside us, transforming our minds and hearts by His truth (Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5).

It takes continual confession of our sins as Christians, as God is just to forgive (1 John 1:9).  However, it’s so He can cleanse and correct us, often through some not so joyful chastisement, so we learn not to offend Him anymore (Hebrews 12:11, Job 34:31).  If we’re not being renewed, we are backsliding into sin.

However, much like it is with a magazine subscription, God gives us free will ability to decide on whether to renew or not.  We choose each day whom we’ll serve and submit to (Joshua 24:15).  It is our Saviour or Satan.  If Jesus, we repent according to the Word.  If the devil, we repeat the world (1 Corinthians 10:21).

This is not establishing our own righteousness and submitting it to God for approval (Romans 10:3).  It is submitting to His righteousness, so we can show ourselves approved to Him.  Some ways to do this are studying the Word (2 Timothy 2:15), and following peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17-18).

The word renewal has a few definitions.  One of them is the repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken.  It requires fixing.  God will accept anyone like this at the Cross of Christ.  It does not matter if we arrive there all weary and worn, tired and torn, abused and abandoned, or bruised and battered.

What does matter to God is how we are renewed before finishing our race of faith (1 Corinthians 9:24). We are all commanded to be presented before Christ unashamed (1 John 2:28), faultless (Jude 1:24), holy, unreproveable, and unblameable (Colossians 2:22). Found in peace and without spot (2 Peter 3:14).

We can’t do this by any external and worldly method or means, ways or works.  We can’t just “try” harder. This is why New Year’s resolutions tend to falter or fail so soon.  We can only do it through inner renewal. Humbly obeying God like Jesus did to death, and abiding by His ways (Philippians 2:8, John 15:1-6).

We would be foolish to blame a magazine publisher for not sending us new editions if we just did not want to renew our subscription – or if we forgot.  The same goes with God.  We will be forever fools if we blame Him for sending us to hell, simply because we didn’t want to submit to Him for renewal unto salvation.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in the city at the feet of Gamaliel. Taught according to the strictest manner of our father’s law – and was zealous towards God, as you all are to this day. – Acts 22:3

– But the zeal with which you play … relies on where you draw the line. – Jason Mraz

Adolf Hitler certainly had belief in a higher being. There are several historical records and writings supporting his claim to be some sort of Christian. Whatever this meant to Hitler, his zeal towards God in such a manner led to his developing a zero tolerance for the Jewish people and their ways. Because of this, he persecuted an estimated six million of them unto death in concentration camps.

The apostle Paul had zeal towards God, too.  Except he was born a Jew as Saul in the city of Tarsus – and taught according to the perfect manner of Jewish law (lead verse).  Paul developed a zero tolerance towards the new Christians of his day – persecuting them this way unto their deaths (Acts 22:4).  Wasting God’s church – more exceedingly zealous of earthly traditions than eternal truths (Galatians 1:13-14).

Two men of the human race – killing scores of other members of the human race; all because of zeal. All because both felt they were doing the right thing for God (Proverbs 14:12).  One wrote a terrible chapter in human history.  The other wrote nearly half of the New Testament.  If both men had zeal towards God – what was the difference between good and bad zeal? The answer is God Himself.

The One who is always the difference between wrong or right zeal, and whether ours is directed towards earthly or eternal things (Luke 12:33-34, Colossians 3:2).  Hitler steadfastly stuck with his worldly zeal to pursue and promote a political plan of his own mind and creation.  To chart his own course against the Jews, using our Creator as a covering for evil (1 Peter 2:16).  The results were tragic.

Conversely, Saul was struck down by God on the road to Damascus.  The Lord chose Saul to be a Christian that day … and made him the apostle Paul (Acts 22:5-9,16).  So God could then correct and redirect his zeal from the inside out, and set it in the right direction towards the Word – and His will (Acts 22:14).  So Paul could help others turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).  The results were truth.

This is not intended by any means to compare Hitler with Paul.  It is meant to make us attuned to the many dangers of becoming overzealous in anything we do throughout life … this includes Christianity. Being so can warp our judgement.  Too much wayward zeal can lead to us developing a near zero tolerance of certain people groups, religions, or general lifestyles (Matthew 23:13).

Having such a strict heart or mind like this leaves little space to extend any grace or mercy to others. Any religious rigidness does not permit much room to show or grow in either (James 2:13, 2 Peter 3:18). Having a zeal for the Lord does not mean we can deem and decide everything we do in His name as being right in our eyes – if they are still wrong in His (1 Kings 14:8, 1 Chronicles 13:4, Proverbs 20:6).

However, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said “We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  Misguided men and women of God, mixed in with any type of overzealous mindset, can quickly go astray from His way.  They can teach or preach much misinformation when presenting God’s Word. Any pastor leading a church in such a way – can end up offending many of its members along the way (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Zeal is not wrong by itself.  It means great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective. Some synonyms of zeal are fervor, passion, and devotion – all admirable attributes for any Christian.  However, outward zeal can conceal many misguided intentions in the heart.  God will not be fooled (1 Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:12-13) … but it can take years for other people to find out they’ve been taken.

Sadly, to their graves at times.  Our human history gives us many tragic examples of what can happen when religious zeal runs rampant.  Under the cover of such zeal, Magellan’s thirst for personal glory finally led him fatally astray.  Then there were self-proclaimed godly men such as Jim Jones and David Koresh, who guided a total of 992 people to their deaths – all because of misguided zeal.

Elisabeth Elliot once penned these words: “It takes a while for revelry to turn to reverence, and much repetition of truth to eventually turn young zeal into habitual channels for good.”  Paul echoed this when he wrote, “It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing (Galatians 4:18).  So, where does zeal cross the line from good to bad, and can it be prevented?

Out of control children and cars can cause a lot of damage.  Both have lost their steering mechanism. Kids are operating independently of a parent; cars are operating independently from a driver.  Out of control Christians or churches can behave the same way. Too much zeal of this nature can be a strong indicator someone besides God is at the wheel (Psalm 48:14, Isaiah 30:21, Micah 7:5).

Without such courses being corrected within us from above – the path to eternal damnation is still being paved before us.  This is where repentance enter the picture.  God’s goodness leads to it (Romans 2:4).  As many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens.  We all are to be zealous about repenting (Revelation 3:19). We are to be happy about correction  (Job 5:17) – but it might be painful at times.

No life change is easy.  It tends to upset “the way it has always been done” mindset.  If we still like any of our old worldly ways, repenting will not seem joyous. We will not likely see it as a sign of God’s love – but of His somehow messing with us again without rhyme or reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  However, divine discipline will happen.  It will hurt – but it’s meant to get us to heaven (Hebrews 12:5-14).

This keeps our zeal on the right course.  It is a contained flame of faith focused on our rewards up above (Colossians 3:2).  The wrong zeal is an out-of-control wildfire usually focused on the fleeting and passing (but often fun) things down here below (Matthew 6:19-20).  Wavering zeal crosses the line back and forth between the two.  It can become a type of spiritual tightrope walk (1 Corinthians 10:21)

Without daily and focused zeal regarding repentance (2 Corinthians 4:16), we’re in great danger of falling away.  This is serious.  It is impossible to be renewed again to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6).  A sure sign of misguided zeal is being more passionate about participating in Christian activities; repeating certain traditions and customs – than repenting according to truth (Mark 7:7, 2 Timothy 2:25).

Zealously crossing items off our Christian “to do” list is not repentance,  It all means nothing without the pure, fervent, and unfeigned love we are to learn if we are born-again believers (1 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Peter 1:22).  We will all be justified of our sins and saved – only by God’s grace and steadfast faith in Christ until the end (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 3:24, Titus 3:7, Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 1:13).

The Pharisees tried justifying their words and works before men (Luke 16:15); despite having hearts that were still dirty – and in desperate need of cleansing from the inside out.  Jesus called them all hypocrites (Matthew 23:25-26).  Although they might have appeared outwardly zealous to others by honoring God with their lips and labor – their hearts were far from Him (Mark 7:6).

We can become the same if we are not fully committed to repentance.  This is all part of proper zeal.  If we should discover inner change is too difficult because of our Father’s sometimes painful and persistent correction, we can become zealous for Him in every area except repentance.  We can go about establishing our own righteousness without it, a misguided mistake made by Israel (Romans 10:1-3).

They certainly had a zeal of God – but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2).  They sought salvation by works of righteousness – but not by faith and repentance (Acts 17:30, Romans 9:31, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5).  They did not submit themselves to God’s righteousness.  This means Christ is the end of the law unto all who believes by faith unto the end (Romans 10:3-4, Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 3:14).

Our hope and promise of eternal life through Christ was given because of God’s zeal towards us from the start (Isaiah 9:7, Titus 1:2).  Our Father’s truth set up an eternal throne in heaven to establish justice and judgement through Jesus forever (Isaiah 9:7, Luke 1:31-33).  Christ became the final offering for sin (Hebrews 10:14), so justification can only come through the Cross (John 14:6).

Self-justification wreaks havoc with repentance. Without us having a good conscience towards the latter, faith can shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19).  If the focus of our zeal is zeroed in on external Christian activities – but not inner change – danger is on the doorstep.  We can be easily putting ourselves back on the broad way heading straight to eternal destruction and darkness (Matthew 7:13, Matthew 8:12).

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