by Pastor Tim Burt
One day in the local section of the newspaper, there was a mugshot picture of this guy that looked very scary. He had brutally raped and killed a woman and did things I would rather not describe. She had rented him a room in her home and it eventually led to this tragic moment. I don’t know what the reason was for this woman renting out a room. It might have been her gift of hospitality or it could have been out of financial need, or some other reason. Regardless, it was sad that she allowed this depraved devilish man to have even a minute of occupancy in her home. It cost her, her life.
That word foothold is a Greek word meaning “limited occupancy”—letting someone live in a place for a while. That is what we give the devil when we let the sun go down in our anger. We give the devil occupancy in our mind and heart. Why would we do that? Why would we give occupancy to a devil that only knows how to destroy? The thought of me voluntarily giving the devil any place in my life would be equal to letting that criminal mentioned above, stay in my home. I can’t let it happen!When we give the devil occupancy, it affects everything in our life. Why does God tell us not to let the sun go down in our anger? God knows that anger from unresolved issues takes root and grows. It grows into a deeper rooted anger called bitterness. And it doesn’t stop there unless you unroot it with God’s help. If you don’t, it continues to grow deeper and spread like cancer. How does it grow? It grows by you replaying the issues that have made you angry, over and over in your mind. Rooted anger, which is what you have when you don’t deal with it quickly, is much harder to pull up and deal with later. So, the answer is, never let it root in you to begin with!Anger is not sin when kept in check. It is actually a God-given emotion. We are to use our anger toward the enemy of our soul and his efforts to move us out of our love walk. Romans 6:12 (NKJV) says, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”
What do you think of when you think of the word reign? You may think of it as one who rules like a King. That is the literal meaning of this Greek word. A king is one who reigns. He is one who has authority. The king of your mind and emotions is you! The one who has all authority over Satan, sin, anger, and every evil work of the enemy is you! This verse says, “do not let sin reign” implying you have a say, or even more importantly, that you have the God-given authority and power of God through His Holy Spirit within you, to deal with it! It that is a new revelation to you, love it! Embrace it! You have power over it!
We need to keep anger contained and take a bigger assessment of all that is going on around us. We need to ask ourself, Am I really needing to feel this mad or am I in a bad mood for some reason? Did I get enough sleep? Am I tired and crabby? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Am I taking myself and this situation way to seriously or can I just chill? Do I love the person I am angry with and do I really want to hurt them with sinful anger?
The foundational truth of our Christianity is found in Romans 5:8 (NKJV) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus forgave all our sins and transgressions from the start. He had every right to be angry yet it was love that prevailed and why Jesus gave His life for us! It’s time for us to transfer that same forgiveness to others. Initially, it isn’t generally easy. But it is always right! But you don’t know what he/she has done to me!, are the words that normally follow. My response is this: You don’t know all the offenses you’ve committed against the Lord, but I am sure they are more than what that person has done to you! I have found that when I obey the Lord by faith, and forgive and move past the offense that made me angry—by faith, my mind and emotions soon respond accordingly, follow and line up with God’s heart. I feel better because I know I have obeyed God.
I have found that for different situations I have had to develop plans to diffuse anger and develop strategies for working through it. There are some things you will be able to kindly address and work through and others you won’t! Poor drivers in traffic isn’t something you can address. You have to let go and know that they are like rain on your picnic—something you have no control over so just move on and navigate it. You’ll have to deal with your anger. You need to deal with issues with your spouse or friend in faith by love. Love gives place to guidance by the Holy Spirit. It immediately unroots anger and the devil. Purposing to reign in your life by choosing to ignore the mole hills and instead show love and forgiveness instead of anger, blame, and accusation, will improve your life 1,000 percent.
Is it initially easy, even with God’s help? Not usually. But will it change you as a person as you purpose to do so? Absolutely! Learning this has helped me and literally transformed me into another person. My temperament is even keel and I now know how to work through real issues when they arise, in an appropriate manner! I refuse to give Satan any “limited occupancy” in my life or home. I refuse to hinder my intimate relationship with God over bitterness and unforgiveness. I refuse to let the devil eat my lunch because I’m being lazy and let anger happen. The cost is too high and people are too precious! And God has been so merciful to me! And He has been to you also!
Proverbs 19:11 (NKJV) “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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