Excerpts from Chapter 8 from “Spirit Controlled Temperament” by Tim Lahaye
Grieving The Holy Spirit Through Anger
“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. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of Cod, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, 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.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)
Grieving the Holy Spirit through anger, bitterness, wrath or other forms of human cussedness probably ruins more Christian testimonies than any other kind of sin. For some reason, otherwise consecrated Christians seem reluctant to face as sin these emotions that stem from anger. Although unseen, anger is every bit as much a sin as other overt practices. Galatians 5:20 lists hatred, strife and wrath in the same category as murders,drunkenness and revellings, saying, “…of the which I tell you before as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Consult the following chart for a description of the 16 variations of anger.
Bitterness, Malice, Harsh Words, Envy, Resentment, Intolerance, Criticism, Revenge, Rage, Hatred, Seditions, Jealousy, Attack, Gossip, Sarcasm, Unforgiveness
Very simply, an angry person is not pleasant to be around; consequently, those who are angry, grumpy or disgruntled are gradually weeded out of the social lists or excluded from the fun times of life. The social price paid for inner anger and bitterness is seen more clearly in detail as a person progresses in age. This bitter, resentful and often self-pitying spirit makes him unbearable to have around, which in turn makes life more difficult for him in his old age. What a tragedy if Granddad is a Christian and did not let God’s Holy Spirit “mortify the deeds of the flesh” many years before.
The highest price of all paid for an angry, bitter disposition is in the spiritual realm. Jesus Christ came to give us not only eternal life when we die, but abundant life here and now. That life can only he experienced by “abiding in Him” or “being filled with the Spirit.” No man can abide in Christ or be filled with the Spirit who grieves the Holy Spirit, and “anger, bitterness, wrath, clamor and enmity of heart” grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
Grieving the Holy Spirit limits the work of God in an individual’s life, keeps him from becoming mature in Christ Jesus, and hinders him from being the glowing, effective, fruitful Christian that he wants to be. Churches are filled today with evangelical Christians just like the children of Israel, who never fully possessed their possessions. Continual grieving of the Spirit of God through anger keeps the child of God from enjoying all that Jesus Christ has for him today. This affects the believer not only in this life but in the life to come, for we should be occupying ourselves with laying up treasures in heaven, which can be done only as we walk in the Spirit. Again we say, the most important single thing to any Christian is that he walk in the Spirit, but to do so he must let God cure his natural weakness of inner anger and turmoil.
The Basic Cause of Anger
What causes a perfectly normal, likeable, congenial human being to suddenly react with heat and anger? The full realization and acceptance of the answer to that question provides the Christian with his first giant step toward its cure. Stripped of all the facade and fancy excuses for condoning anger, we are confronted with an ugly word—selfishness. Although we love to excuse our weaknesses and justify them to ourselves as we nurse our grudges and indulge in angry, vengeful, bitter feelings, they are all motivated by selfishness. When I am angry, it is because someone has violated my rights and I am interested in myself. When I am bitter against someone, it is because they have done something against me, and again I come back to selfishness.
Vengeance is always inspired by selfishness.You can go to Him who has promised to “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” and began to experience victory over bitterness, wrath, anger, and all those emotional attitudes that grieved the Holy Spirit. As fantastic as it may seem, I have observed this in the lives of those individuals who are willing to recognize inner anger and turmoil as the sin of selfishness and look to God for the grace, love, and self-control which He promises to them who ask Him. If you are reaping a crop of anger, bitterness and hatred, a little investigation will indicate to you that you have been sowing a crop of anger, bitterness and hatred. The Bible tells us, “Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7 If you had been sowing love, you would be reaping love, If you are not reaping love, may I suggest that you change the seeds you are sowing.
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