Heart Check

James 1:19-21:
19
Understand  this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

I was really angry this morning.
REALLY angry.
Like, irrational anger sprouting out of anger.
[This is one of the many qualities of my personality that makes me marvel at God’s grace because these are the moments that I am little more than a wretch.]

And yet I serve a God Who is not only full of amazing grace, but foresight.
Last night, before going to sleep, God brought the above verse to my attention. And that middle verse in particular, stood out to me:
Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Can I tell you, friends?
Anger will come (ooooh will it come). That’s not what we’re commanded against . It’s in the dwelling.
Staying there.
Letting it fester.
Willingly standing to allow it saturate your mind and seep into your heart.
[In a word: exactly what I wanted to do earlier today.]

When I received news this morning that I would not, in fact, be receiving what I had been promised. I was angry. And being so entitled, I wanted to be angry. I let the irrational thoughts rage. I had no interest in hearing reason.

But then somewhere in the storm of my head, that verse came floating back:
Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

I remembered who I am.
I remembered Whose I am.
And how I am called to live: in constant striving toward the righteousness God desires.

Yesterday morning’s sermon reiterated the calling on our  lives to live as members of God’s “upside down Kingdom”. Where the last shall be first; and the angry are still commanded by the Spirit.
I knew without question that this pit of anger was not what God has for me.
Maybe that’s obvious, but it sure wasn’t so blatant in the midst of my anger a few hours ago.
Sitting in it would produce little more than wasted time. Missed opportunities. Forfeited calling.

God allows “life” to happen to grow us.
Everyday, we experience emotions. They can be tools. To signal the finer points of our lives where our hearts are not quite aligned with God’s.

And that’s OK.
But don’t sit and wait for circumstances to change while you sulk, pout and cry.

I am so grateful for a God who gently prepares our hearts for the raging storm of emotions He alone can anticipate.
And for the unlimited storehouses of grace He is in command of; ever ready to lavish upon those who remember Him above–and in spite of–all else.

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2 thoughts on “Heart Check

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our failures are simply reminders to look to the cross. When I try to defend or excuse my behavior, I miss the opportunity to fall on Grace. He has already purchased redemption. I can’t be perfect, but I can use my imperfections as opportunities to seek Christ’s perfection. This was a good reminder! Thank you.

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