Anger: the Foothold

How many of you have been angry today?

It’s okay to be honest with yourself. Once? Two or three times? Maybe… more? If you have, I hope you continue to read this.

I’ve been angry before, who hasn’t? In fact, I’ve been more than my fair share of angry. I’ve been so angry that words came out of my mouth before my mind had time to process what they were, what kind of pain they would inflict or damage they would cause. In other words, in my anger I was selfish. My goal in such heated moments was one: win the fight at all costs. Why? Because anger told me that I was always in the right.

I did a lot of that fighting when I was younger. When anger knocked, I opened the door without the slightest idea of what would be waiting on the other side. An annoying person aggravated me, anger came. A friend ditched me? Yeah, you could bet I was boiling. A family member told me I’d never amount to anything… man, those words really had me fired up. There are deeper things, but I’m not ready to share those. It seemed like there was an infinite list that hit my buttons.

So, in a nutshell, everything made me mad. Everything would make me want to fight. I wanted to be angry, but then, at the same time, I didn’t. A part of me knew there was more to life than just the on-edge one I was living, I just couldn’t seem to find it and not a soul seemed to want to help me. The fight, the anger, the outbursts were cries, but I was lost in a world that didn’t even notice I was there.

Then something happened.

When I was eleven, a group called The Power Team (men that body-build for Christ) visited a local theater in my town. At the time, I lived with my mother. No one was much on the church scene in my house. Of course I had heard about God and Jesus, about Heaven and Hell, but that’s as far as that went. When my mother suggested the idea of going, it surprised me.

We went. The theater was packed. People with their families, people alone, church vans and even those obnoxious kids I knew from school. We all walked into the theater, and it wasn’t long after we slipped into our seats that the show began.

For the next hour or so these muscled men ripped phone books in half, smashed bats, lifted logs that must have quadrupled their weights, bent frying pans, busted cans with their bare hands, balloons with nothing but the air in their lungs… I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the image. The best part? The hulk like men did these things all while sharing The Gospel. 

The Gospel. That’s where I grew interested.While the crowd roared like they were the most amazing people they had ever seen – some even running to try and catch the pieces of splintered wood and balloon remains as they hit the bottom of the stage – my ears tuned in, my eyes never left the stage. It was like for the first time, someone was finally talking to me and what I was going through. I felt, in a way, like the Grinch on the day his heart grew all those sizes. Somehow, someone had heard my heart crying out in the world and they decided to answer my silent plea to have more than the life I’d been living.

When they called for people to come to the stage, to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, I went without thought. Jesus had been the one to hear me, and he had answered! I would answer Him right back. I wasn’t alone either. It felt as if the whole auditorium had made their way to the small stage as well, no one caring if they bumped into another or stepped on a foot in the midst – something that would have made me angry before – but it didn’t. I was too enraptured by the speaker, to consumed with all the things he was saying.

Saying those words, that well known sinners prayer, was as simple as breathing. Finally, finally, things started to change. They told us to drop our hurts and worries and burdens and whatever else we were dealing with at the Cross, and to leave them. Jesus didn’t want us to carry them any longer, He wanted to exchange them for freedom. For our freedom.

For me it meant the anger.

I walked out of that theater changed, free indeed. I could then see with a clear mind what anger had been doing to those around me and to myself. It was suffocating me. It was holding me back. It was drowning me. And I was letting it. But no longer would I let it chain me. No longer would I be the victim to a deadly killer.

Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us: “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Do not let the devil have a foothold. Anger is a foothold, and a mighty big one. Anger is also a sin people of today tend to overlook. Over the years since the day I accepted Jesus, I have seen that foothold in work. It’s torn my family apart, ruined marriages, and even caused lives to be lost in the fray. It’s a silent killer that not many people talk about. I left it behind, sure, but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t try and break in every once in awhile.

But, friends, we must evict anger and not allow it back. If we let anger inside, even the slightest fragment, it will grow until it can no longer be contained. It will grow until it has nowhere else to go but into another.

When anger shows, meet it with patience. Meet it with prayer, with love. Do not let it destroy your life. Do not let the devil acquire that stronghold. And if you have anger, take it to the Cross. Give Jesus that anger and don’t pick it back up. While you’re there at the bottom of the Cross, forgive yourself and accept His forgiveness. If you haven’t accepted Him, I pray that you do. No matter your mistakes, your past, your pains, hurts, struggles, He is there and He has been waiting for you since before you were ever born.

“For all have fallen short of the glory of God.” –Romans 3:23

Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” –Isaiah 1:18

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear,slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  –James 1:19-20

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” –Ephesians 4:31




Which Fountain Do You Drink From?

stockphotofountain-1Have you heard the good news? The Fountain Of Life has been found! Hard to believe? I can understand, many are skeptical of things like this. But, if you’d let me, I’d like to tell you of the place I speak of. If you’re still reading, I’m glad! It means you’re at least curious of this Fountain. So, I’ll just start by telling you how spectacular this Fountain is! Its water is like no other! Drink daily from it and it will cure even the most horrendous of illnesses. It’ll take away your pain and your sorrow and give you peace and comfort. It’ll wipe away your suffering and your worries, even render your fears nonexistent. It will give you light where there is darkness and hope where there is defeat. Drink daily from this Fountain, have faith in its powers, and you will have knowledge beyond this world. Wisdom will be your friend and strength your encourager in moments of doubt and despair. Do you want that? Does overwhelming joy and happiness sound like somthing you would be interested in? If you’re still reading this then I assume you desire to seek this Fountain. Now comes the hard part, a part that will take dedication and true longing to accomplish. The path to this Fountain of Life is narrow and few travel it often. There will be thorns that scrape and tear at your clothing and branches in your way by which you may stumble. There will be holes and missing pieces of land, and the journey is long and hot and at some points exhausting. You will have moments of weakness and doubt, and times where your feet will hurt so unbearably that you can’t imagine a simple Fountain being worth all the struggle and suffering just for a drink. There will be people waiting in the shadows, murders and thieves and coveters who seek your fall, who seek to stop your trips to the Fountain. They will want to destroy you before you gain all the gifts this Fountain promises. Though they do not want the Fountain for themselves, they do not want anyone else to receive the gifts. Why do they do this? Because, my friend, there is another fountain not too far away and they have drank from its waters. It’s walls are captivating and alluring and it’s gates are bright and open wide to all who see the world. The path is easy, thorn-less; it’s road is paved with riches and jewels and possesions that draw the eyes. Its water whispers of everything that you could ever want. It tells you that it is the true bringer of joy and provider of comfort, the one and only way to eternal life. It wears deceit like a blanket and destruction is its servant. It does not love it’s drinkers, but laughs secretly at their blind eyes. Many have fallen prey to the whispers and lies of this fountain, this imposter. It does not bring peace or comfort or hope. It does not take away your fears or give you rest. Its promises are in vain, for it cannot fulfill its word. It promises what it cannot keep and it provides what it convinces you it will take away from you. Many travelers turn to its path, but you must not. You must not give into the temptation of the simple road. For its water is not of life, but of death. One drink and it will be hard to ever leave. Do not seek that fountain. It will not endure forever, for its end is eminent. Seek the Fountain Of Life and seek it daily. Make the trek to that Fountain every chance you can. That beautiful, prevailing Fountain that contains the power to heal you and take your sorrows and steal away your anxiety and weariness and will give you utmost peace and rest and love, will hear your footsteps. It will hear you coming and will send you strength, giving you the drive to make it to the end each day if only you do not give up. Do not stop. For at the end, those who have sought the Fountain Of Life, of light and love and peace and joy; the Fountain that contains the only living water in existence, will have a life of happiness eternally. But the ones who do not take the road less traveled, who do not go the extra miles and suffer daily the journey of the righteous, will inherit the true offerings of the imposter: death and destruction and agony forevermore. My friends, the Fountain of Life I speak of is Jesus Christ. Jesus, the son of our God, who shed His innocent blood on the cross to free us from the sin of this world. To free us from the grip of the fountain of death, the imposter, the son of perdition and lies: satan. I hope and pray that you will choose the path less traveled, the road that leads to the Fountain Of Life, the Comforter, the Protector, Jesus Christ. I pray that you will accept Him today if you have not, and drink with me from The Fountain Of Life for eternity. For the righteous paths end will be more wonderful than we can ever imagine. I hope to see you at the end, my friends.