February 7, 2022, 11:32 AM

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. James 4:1-3

Statistics show that more than 60% of people lose their temper at least once per week. This stat should get you angry because 40% of respondents are not honest. Everyone has buttons that, if pushed correctly, amp up our emotions. These triggers can set one off on a path of destructive words, thoughts, and behaviors. So, when we are furious, we should take notice. Why? Because anger serves as an indicator of disarray happening within our hearts.

Stop for a moment and look in the mirror. Where does anger make an appearance in your life? Is it when you are facing a situation you cannot control? Do you respond to chaos with more chaos? How do you react when you feel disrespected, dismissed, or misunderstood? Do you act like a child when you don't get your way? Are your outbursts and negative thoughts just an outpouring of the disillusionment you feel towards life? 

Maybe it's the way you respond to the jealousy you feel over watching others succeed when all you see in yourself are your shortcomings. Perhaps your anger has nothing to do with the current situation but is instead your coping mechanism to deal with unaddressed hurts. Even though we all have our buttons, the display of our anger varies. There are those individuals who are constantly angry. People view them as "angry with life." Their short fuse has others walking on eggshells around them. 

On the other hand, you have those who live like a dormant volcano. For days, maybe weeks, at a time, things appear to be running smoothly. Then, out of nowhere, they explode, and it isn't pretty. The intensity of the anger catches everyone off guard. Then there are those who, on the outside, looks like the epitome of stability. Yet, they spend their days simmering with anger. They never have an outburst, never raise their voice, and you never see their blood boil. Instead of dealing with their issues and frustration, they trap them inside. Their anger remains under the surface. Revenge, resentment, bitterness, and frustration occupy their thoughts and hold them captive.

No matter how we display our anger, we must address our anger issues. Why? If we don't define our anger, our anger will define us. In Luke 6:45, Jesus says, "for out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." And don't be fooled: anger is still anger even if it never gets expressed. The longer we let this anger fester, the more it clouds our judgment. Proverbs 27:4 compares anger to a flood in its' power to destroy and harm. Other parts of Scripture go as far as saying anger kills the foolish man (Job 5:2). How? Anger consumes our thoughts and dictates our actions, which bring all kinds of sin (Proverbs 29:22). Getting angry rarely solves problems and produces more conflict and trouble (Proverbs 30:33). 

The time has come for us quit making excuses and justifying our anger. Anger doesn't remain stagnant. It will continue to move and grow within your heart until it consumes us. We've got to go farther than anger management. We can't merely manage our anger - we must master it. What type of "hothead" are you? How do you typically display your anger? If you don't define your anger, your anger will define you. In what ways have you allowed your anger to shape your identity?

Prayer: Father God, open my eyes to see where anger exists within me. May I not take this tension lightly but address the underlining issues driving my fury and frustration. Let me view my angst in light of Your incredible love and forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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