Series: Fruit of the Spirit

Sunday am 15 July 2018 – Johan Esterhuizen

2 Pet. 1:5-8; Prov. 14:29; Prov. 29:11; (1 Cor. 14:32); (1 Pet. 2:23 – Amp); Rom. 12:19; Eph. 4:23-32; Col. 2:8, 20-21; Luke 17:5-19

I want to touch on an important virtue this morning called ‘self-control’, specifically the area of anger. Applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control(2 Pet. 1:5-8). Who does the adding of the self-control? A patient man has great understanding but one who is quick-tempered displays folly (Prov. 14:29). He is a fool. A fool gives vent to anger but a wise man keeps himself in control (Prov. 29:11). These are references to unjustified, uncontrolled anger. Breaking out in an undisciplined manner, saying what comes to mind and heart and speaking out is totally wrong. The problem with losing your temper is that you find it again. Feelings do not have to control us. Thank God for emotions; fear, anger, jealousy are emotions God has given us. Because of fear, I do not put my hand in the fire, I do not go too close to the edge of a cliff, I do not drive too fast. Fear is a defence mechanism God has given us; jealousy – I protect what is mine, but when these things control us, we have a problem. The spirit of a prophet is subject to the prophet (1 Cor. 14:32).

Righteous anger has three important characteristics. It is controlled; it has no hatred, malice or resentment (1 Pet. 2:23 – Amp; Rom. 12:19); thirdly it is motivated to solve the problem and not self-expression.

Two ways people handle anger – they blow up or they internalize. Both of these ways are wrong. It is not what you are eating but what is eating you that causes the ulcer. We should handle anger by attacking the situation, not the person. There are things in life that make you angry, but you do not have to lose your temper (Eph. 4:23-26). We cannot choose what happens to us but we can choose our response. Verse 29 expands on this, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers(Eph. 4:29). This is how you control anger. The way we deal with anger is by the spoken words that come out of our mouth. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you(Eph. 4:30-32). The key to release anger in our lives is to watch what we say and to be patient. Patience is self-restraint that does not hastily retaliate against wrong. Patience is the ability to accept delay or disappointment graciously. Patience is calm, enduring, based on the knowledge that God has everything under control.

Life happens, things go wrong, challenges come, people betray us, we do not get the promotion; there are many things that cause our anger, but it is what we do with the anger that will determine our growth. When things go wrong – talk. When you are angry – count to ten. Your biggest enemy looks at you every morning in the mirror! You should look at yourself every morning and say, “Man/woman of God, control yourself; get your life in order.”

Patience is difficult to develop because it is against human nature, it is against our culture. Everything is instant, everything is faster. Patience is a fruit of the spirit that we have to cultivate. Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise settle and heal. Character is displayed by what we say. Anger management is linked to patience and our tongue. When the Lord created us He gave us two ears, two nostrils, two eyes and one mouth. Maybe the Lord wants us to observe twice as much as we speak.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”(Luke 17:5). Sometimes the Lord does not answer questions directly. Read to verse 19. Does the master thank the servant? No, he has done what is required. The question to increase their faith seems out of context. From verse 11 Lepers cried out to Jesus, When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. Lepers in those days were isolated and put in a colony. Only one of them came back to thank the Lord. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. They were healed, but this man was made whole. That is the increase in faith. What prompted the disciples to ask Jesus to increase their faith? There is going to be offence. It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he trespasses against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith (Luke 17:1-5). “Increase our faith that we can forgive, and handle the offences. Increase our faith that we may not lose our temper and walk in the right way you require of us. Increase our faith that we may be patient and say the right things.” If you follow the commandment of God and having done all, you are still an unprofitable servant (vs. 10).

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ(Col. 2:8). This is amplified in verses 20-21, If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” But Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father(Col. 3:17). This is amplified in verse 23-24, Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. The Lord is the Paymaster, He is the one who promotes, He is the one who provides and gives you the breakthrough.

Forgiveness is a tremendous healing tool. Anger is a tremendous gift from God when you channel the anger. Instead of exploding or internalizing, you find words to encourage and words to uplift, because when you are angry, you have a tremendous amount of energy released. Use it and channel it.