“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)
Warriors must be disciplined. In the midst of battle and turmoil, a warrior must have the strength and clarity of mind to put personal fear and self-preservation instincts aside and boldly push forward with their mission. If they become overwhelmed by the stress, the danger, and the confusion all around them, they are likely to abandon their orders and fail in their duty – to the ruin of all that they have worked for.
In our spiritual warfare, conditions can sometimes be fierce enough to drive a warrior nearly out of his mind. The darkness, unbelief, and antagonism toward the Word of Life that we share can take its toll on even the hardiest soldiers. Fears and doubts over the problems of this world can shake even a veteran’s faithful discipline and strict obedience. In the midst of all the spiritual carnage with which we are daily confronted, it can be easy to lose control.
It doesn’t matter who is the target of our “fits of rage” – such displays never promote God’s kingdom or His righteousness. If it is directed at an unbeliever, chances are that we are driving a wedge even further between this lost soul and the God who would redeem them. If it is directed at a brother or sister in the faith, we disrupt the unity and fellowship that serves as a vital part of our witness and ministry to the world. And if it is directed at God…well, it’s easy to see how the tide of battle is quickly turning against us in our own faith walk.
Any fit of rage is a rebellion against God. Our fear, anger, doubt, or despair drive us to desperation. We know what God’s orders are, but we abandon our duty in the belief that our odds are better if we follow our own instincts. The problem is, our instincts are sinful and corrupt from the start. I give in to my rage because it feels good, because I want to gratify my desire for vengeance, power, or control. Ironically, it is at these moments when we are least in control – as we demonstrate that we cannot even control ourselves.
God’s weapon of self-control through the Holy Spirit can help us in our struggle against ourselves. By the peace and joy that comes through His love in Jesus Christ, God fortifies us against our own sinful instincts. The patience and faithfulness that He grows in our hearts through the Word give us the discipline we need to put God and neighbors before self. By exercising daily through prayer, praise, and meditation upon the Word, we allow God to shape us into warriors who are stout of heart, boldly and humbly advancing into battle and steadfastly following God’s orders. He is our loving Commander, and though we are often plagued by fear and doubt, we can come to know that His orders are the way of Life and peace for us, now and forever.
“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the grace to control myself in the midst of fear, doubt, and anger. Help me to always put service to You and witness to others first, that I may be blessed to grow in Godly discipline and prove fruitful to Your kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Lord. Amen.