Self control is absolutely paramount in the Christian faith. You see, it’s in our nature to be emotion-driven ego maniacs; Satan’s little contribution to the fallen human condition. Without self control, we degenerate into reckless behavior bent on self destruction. This, of course, is exactly what Satan wants us to do. Self destruct.
There are times when I dream of unchecked anger unleashed within me. It’s a terrible reminder of the beast lurking deep within the pit of my carnal soul, just biding time until it is released. He is a terrifying figure, so far removed from who I am, and yet I recognize him as a long lost family member. These dreams are frightening. In them, I am capable of all sorts of monstrosities. While sleeping, I’ve seen myself swing fists, with no compassion; I used lethal weapons intent on taking life; I’ve mockingly stood over fallen foes determined to humiliate and decimate their spirits. Through all of these nightmares, I ‘m sure of one consistent fact: Satan has been there with me, feeding my anger.
Anger is like fire, in the sense that, one small spark can ignite the flame. If that flame is allowed to rage uncontrollably, it eventually grows into a roaring inferno. Fire is never satisfied. It destroys everything until there is nothing left to burn. The same is true with unchecked anger. Left to its own devices, it destroys everything until there is nothing left; relationships, sanity, life, all extinguished. We all have our triggers. We all have a spark to contain.
Outside my nightmares, I have to be conscious of the type of music I listen to; I can’t use profanity anymore; even certain movies may ignite the flame of anger. That’s just how it works for me. Satan knows what my buttons look like. During times of weakness, he doesn’t just push my buttons, he leans on them. Before I know it, the spark ignites.
But, our God is mighty. He doesn’t put up with my shenanigans for very long without correcting me, before I do something monumentally stupid. God knows who I really am, even when I try to hide the real me from the rest of the world. He knows when I’ve inadvertently opened the door for Satan to creep in. Each time he corrects me, I am made aware of my flaws in human nature. I have to admit to myself, and to him, that I am capable of the unthinkable. Devoid of God’s grace and mercy, I am very susceptible to the influences of Satan.
Ephesians 4:26~27 (NLT) says, “And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:29 (NLT) says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” God knows anger is poison. He knows anger begets more anger. He knows anger leads to death. That’s a good reason to stay in his holy word every day.
We’re closing the book on the year 2011, and the world is showing all sorts of distressing evidence signifying disturbing changes in our society. The cost of living continues to sky rocket, while personal earnings diminish. Crime is at an all time high. The Health Care system is in jeopardy. The education system is deteriorating. Childrens’ mannerisms are in a constant state of flux. Parents and grandparents are losing touch with the youth of today. Television and technology are raising a generation. The world beckons us to conform to its ever changing environment or risk being left behind. It’s all so overwhelming at times. Anger is usually the first response.
But God says, “Stay with me. Stay in my word, keep me close to your heart and I will never leave you”. For me, God is my source of peace in a world speeding toward insanity. He keeps my anger at bay. It’s hard sometimes, sure. When you’re surrounded by the devil’s work, it’s difficult to hear God’s subtle voice in all the turmoil. But he always comes through. He always makes a way. He always keeps my anger in check. And as long as I continue to listen to him, I’ll never have to worry about unleashing the beast deep within me.