From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on James 1:19-20

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.                        NKJV

Researchers have discovered that many bad things happen in our brains when we get angry. Anger shuts down the creative parts of our brains so we are less likely to be able to solve problems. Unresolved anger impacts our health in negative ways. In our text, God tells us that spiritually we cannot achieve the Lord’s purposes through our anger. Later in James’s epistle we find that we achieve the righteous life that God desires through peace: The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (3:18).

Usually our anger happens when we are hindered from obtaining something that is we desire. Road rage occurs when drivers are hindered from getting to their destination as quickly as they hoped. Employees become angry when they are hindered in their desire for a promotion, better working conditions, or increased pay. Parents become angry with their children when the actions of their children hinder their desire for a harmonious family life.

To hold onto our peace and avoid getting angry it is helpful to focus on where our desires are being hindered. If we have unreasonable expectations, we set ourselves up to have these expectations hindered. If we take on responsibilities that belong to other people, we won’t be able to control the outcome and our desires will be hindered. If we don’t listen to others we may find our plans hindered.

By searching the scriptures and understanding that God is in complete control of our lives, we know that nothing happens to us outside of His divine will (Isa. 46:9-10, Acts 17:26, Eph. 1:11).  Whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in, we are there because God has put us in those specific circumstances for our spiritual profit that we might be conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jas. 1:2-4, 17-18, Eph. 2:10).

Even when our desires are blocked, we know God’s are not. We can hold our peace because God’s purposes are bigger than our inconveniences.                     Susan Barnes

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