Our church (Center Church, Brenham Texas) is doing something this week entitled, “7in7.” This is creating something each day for seven days, all for the glory of God. I admittingly do not have much skill. I’m not a writer or much of a blogger at all anymore, but I decided I’m going to blog for a few days, just thoughts that come to me.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV) – 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
This passage is one that is quite difficult for me. I can get angry, and when I do, I tend to blow. and when I blow, I will do damage unfortunately to people and things around me. Oh, I’m not a violent person at all, but I can be rather cutting with my words.
This verse obviously has some practical meaning.
“In your anger do not sin…”
Here is an important truth: we will all at times get angry. We will be offended. We will be wronged. We might at times feel the sting of injustice. And because of this, our blood will begin to blow. We want vindication. We want to see those who may have offended us quivering in a corner, begging for mercy. Well, maybe not everyone – but I sure do! It is easy to feel justified, especially when you are sinned against by another.
But notice this portion of the passage doesn’t say don’t get angry but do not react in your anger by sinning.
We are now new creations in Christ. While we at one time did respond when being wronged in burning hot wrath, we are now ministers of reconciliation. The Apostle Paul says, ” God…reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” (2 Corinthians 5:18 NIV).
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”
It is important to deal with your anger as soon as possible. One of the worse things we can do (and we often do) is we will rehearse an argument and wallow in our offense. Come on, let’s be honest for a second – we all enjoy doing this. Well, at least I do anyway. But this is not how the Lord would want us to be. Not only must we watch our response when we are angry, but we must quickly figure out a way to deal with our anger.
“and do not give the devil a foothold.”
If the devil can’t bust the doors down of our lives to destroy us, then he will try to create the tiniest of cracks in said door to cause us a problem.
You ever had a splinter in your finger? It can be so small, but it is extremely irritating.
How many times have I gotten angry at a brother or sister in Christ, a family member, my own wife and children and the reality of the matter is it was a very insignificant thing that was trying me crazy. I was allowing that problem to splinter off and fester. In other words, I was giving the devil a foothold.
What can we do to not allow our anger to defeat us?
There are just some simple things to think about. Here are a few that have helped me.
- I am a new creation in Christ. What helps me is to remember that God has rescued me from my sins. I am being transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:1) and I remind myself of the gospel.
- No matter how much that person has offended and angered me, I have offended Christ far more; and yet He has forgiven me. Again a gospel truth to remind yourself of. The fact is, we do not deserve forgiveness. We don’t deserve grace. But we all have ultimately earned hell! But Christ paid the price so that we might be the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- We are now ministers of reconciliation. Ask yourself, “What action can I take or words can I say that will bring an end to the conflict, cease anger, and restore fellowship? Once you have the answer to this, then do it for the glory of God.
The Lord is not looking for people to change the world because they are angry. He is looking for servants who seek to be reconciled with others and not to give the devil a foothold but to present a wide-open door of opportunity for the gospel.