Monday, October 29, 2007

Anger Tends To Murder

Proverbs 25:28 says, "A man without self-controlis like a city broken into and left without walls."

I know what it's like to be ruled by anger. All I have to do is go into the homes in Danville that I grew up in, and find walls with holes in them--some of them of from my own fist. It shames me incredibly. And ask any of my closest friends, especially Audrea. When I used to get angry, I was embarrassing to be around. I was an angry man.

Since I've had children, God has grown me in this area. Audrea pointed it out to me a few years ago. Big mistake. Because then pride went to my head and it got real fat like a zit ready to be popped. Yeah, I know, but I had to come up with something appropriately disgusting! That's how God views my sin--with abhorrence and complete disgust. And what I've learned is that though He has granted me some small measure of self-control, my heart still radiates with anger at times. And when I read a verse like Proverbs 25:28, I'm reminded that were it not for the amazing grace of God, my life would completely fall apart around me. The city of my life with its walls of seeming protection would be thoroughly defenseless, in a shambles because apart from the enabling Spirit of God granting me any measures of self-control, left to myself, I would destroy those around me and myself. I still am an angry man.

You don't believe me. You say, "Oh Paul, you're not a bad guy." Well, Charles Bridges summarizes well what happens to the human heart when left to itself:

28 He that hath no rule ocer his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and wiikvut walls A former proverb declared him that had rule over his spirit to be a mighty conqueror And certainly the noblest conquests are gained or lost over ourselves For he that tal t no ride over his own spirit is an easy prey to the invading foe Any one may irritate and torment him and spoil him of his comfort 4 He yields himself to the first assault of his ungoverned passion offering no resistance like a city broken down and without walls the object of pity and contempt Thus having no discipline over himself every temptation becomes the occasion of sin and hurries him on to fearful lengths that he had not contemplated The first outbreaking of anger tends to murder 3 Unwatchfulness over lust plunges into adultery 7 The mightiest natural strength is utter feebleness in the great conflict 3 How should such an object excite our tenderest compassion

(From An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs By Charles Bridges)

The human heart left to itself will wreak havoc and destruction. James tells us that:

4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.

Praise be to God, though, for the adversative "BUT". Verse 6 of James 4 gives me much hope and exhortation at the same time--"BUT he gives more grace." He promises that whoever draws near to Him in humility, He will draw unto Himself:

6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

God, grant me the grace to be a man of self-control, a man of patience and humility. Be my Rock and Fortress.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your posts. It always gives me something to apply to my life. I also like being able to keep up with your family and see how everyone is growing.

Melissa Yocum

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