Are You Still on Guard? (Anger Part 1)

TEXT: Colossians 3:8
It has been far too long since I posted any devotional thoughts on Caring for Souls. You don’t need to hear all the details as to what has been going on in my life. Suffice it to say, “Life has been busy!” I want to get back to connecting with you through these weekly devotional thoughts.

The more important matter is this: “how is it with YOUR soul?” We have been talking about guarding our hearts against the world, the flesh, and the devil (cf. EPH 2:1-3a). All three are powerful forces in distracting us from living fruitful, joy-filled lives in Christ Jesus. That is why Proverbs 4:23 serves as an anchor verse for our spiritual life. We must always be on guard against fleshly and devilish sniper attacks that tend to keep us from living for the glory of God.

One of the most prominent attacks to the soul comes in the form of anger. Suffice it to say that there is a place for what theologians call “righteous indignation.” That is, we should be angry and prone to take righteous action against all forms of injustice and malice against other human beings. But most of the anger that emerges from our hearts is destructive and demoralizing. It corrupts marriages; demolishes parent-child relationships; and ruins long-term friendships.

Notice how Paul describes the emotion of anger in our text for today. He refers to “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language.” All these terms are references to the kind of emotion that becomes more and more intense the longer we fail to examine what is going on in our hearts. Ultimately our strong feelings against people and events erupt in words and deeds that are anything but constructive.

So what can we do about anger—unrighteous, harmful anger? If you look carefully at the context that surrounds Colossians 3:8 you will notice that Paul was calling his readers to at least three actions steps.
  • First, we must affirm every day (and throughout the day) that Jesus is in charge of every aspect of our lives. We are not! He can allow anything into our lives He wants. We are His servants, since He sits at the right hand of God in charge of everything (cf. COL 3:1b). 
  • Second, we need to constantly be seeking after God’s will as it is revealed in His Word. That is what Paul means when he says to the Colossians “set your minds on what is above” (cf. COL 3:2). By all means you have the freedom to check on your investments and the latest sports scores. But are you putting in as much or more time finding out what pleases Jesus, our King?
  • Third, remember who you are. You are a slave of Jesus, the King of the soon to be revealed Kingdom of God. That is what Paul means when he tells his readers that the Messiah is our life and will be revealed. Better yet, we are going to be revealed as His servants in dazzling glory for all to see (cf. COL 3:4). So remember who you REALLY are.
Take a moment to read Colossians 3:8 one more time. Then read the three steps outlined above. Don’t do it just once, but rehearse these steps every single day. After all -

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