Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing on various emotions that we deal with in life. Anger, love, worry/stress, loneliness. The list could go on and on. We are a people full of emotion. God created us this way, and we need to learn how to operate with them.
Obviously, we do not need to let them run our lives. Feelings come and go. Facts should be a driving force for us. But to discredit them altogether is also wrong. There are moments that we need to listen to our 'gut.' There are times we should make a decision because of the prompting inside of us. When something terrible is happening, and everything inside us is saying 'run,' it may not be a bad idea!
In an age of promoting leadership, facts over feelings, and over-analyzing life, I believe we are missing a great opportunity in these emotions. An opportunity to use them for good or an opportunity to allow them to paralyze your future! The decision is yours. Here we go...
Anger. Let's start here. You don't have to be driving in Memphis long to come face to face with this ugly emotion. I say 'ugly' because we tend to give it a bad name.
Anger is bad.
Don't let anger control your life.
Push it away and don't let it rear it's ugly head!
To be honest, I felt the same way for a long time. And in truth, anger (along with all the other emotions) can send us spiraling out of control quickly. That is why I want us to find the opportunity in it. Didn't Jesus get angry?! Anger is not a sin. No where in scripture does it mention that this is a sin. What it does say in Ephesians 4 is, "in your anger, do not sin." In other words, you are going to get angry. The questions is, what are you going to do with it?
Here is my favorite definition of anger: "Anger is our response to whatever endangers something we love." So anger is actually a form of love. It is love in motion to deal with a threat to someone or something we truly care about. The problem arises when we take good things and make them the ultimate things. This is the opportunity. It is a telling sign for what you love the most in your life.
We see this manifest in the lives of many throughout the Bible. When we ultimately look at Jesus' anger in cleansing the temple (which He actually did twice!), we see this play out very clearly. Jesus loved prayer. He loved pure hearts. He loved His Father. This love pushed him to action. He could not allow what was going on in the house of God to continue. "My house shall be called a house of prayer. You have made it a den of thieves." Jesus found the opportunity in anger, to call him to action.
We could use a little more 'righteous' anger in today's age. Finding something we love so much that calls us out to action. Something that frustrates us so much, that we have to make a change in our lives. I hear people say a lot, find that thing that makes you mad, sad or glad, and you may very well find your passion and calling in life. We will address sad and glad later, but today, what is it that makes you mad?
Lack of Prayer
Sin in your life
The list could be as long as there are people on this planet. Each of us with something that triggers us to go and do. This is the good opportunity. The place we take an emotion and run with it. The reason we have so many good programs and ministries in this country. A lot of them came out of this emotion, and drove someone to incite change.
There is an ugly side to anger as well. We will end with this side because it should cause you to self-assess priorities in your life. That is, when you are loving the wrong things. When your heart is on the things of this world. That is why as a young boy, I yelled at my brother for erasing my game on a Super Nintendo! Yes, you heard that right. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Madden '98. You can only save one thing at a time because of the limited storage. Somehow he erased it and I lost my cool! I know you've been there. Afterwards, you ask yourself, why did I lose it like that?! I will now tell you why:
You loved the game more than you loved your brother! (I am sorry Andrew!)
What is this big thing that's so important to me? Why do I get this defensive over something so insignificant? Because you have made it too significant!
The question we need to ask is, "What do you love too much?"
Take a moment and examine your life. Take this next week even and write down the times you have gotten angry, and the reason behind it. Let's examine our lives and put our hearts in the right place. Let's quit finding our treasure in the things of this world! Instead, let's find the opportunity in this great emotion to go out and make a difference for the Kingdom of God!