And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
One major thing that God is teaching me right now: I’ve been holding onto my anger, frustration, etc. for far too long. I’ve started to read through old journals and blogs, and am absolutely blown away by how much my life has changed in the past few years since I have given my life to Christ. The only appropriate response to what I’ve found is to rip pages out and throw them away; to delete posts. I’m not trying to make myself look faultless–I have to get rid of those things because they do not bring ANY glory to God. They are ugly reminders of my old self, the self that was crucified with Christ. By keeping those reminders of my old self around, I haven’t really died to that part of self yet.
I used to be very angry.
But unless you lived with me, you probably couldn’t tell. Somewhere along the way of growing up, I learned to keep my emotions a clandestine part of my life. When I was in youth group, this earned me the nickname of one of my youth leader’s “hardbutts.” I thought that how I handled anger was acceptable because I wasn’t violent and besides, everyone was angry at some point or another, so I was allowed to be angry. I was a teenager, it was expected of me.
I never realized my anger was hurting myself and my relationship with Christ. With my mouth, I would say that I had given my anger up to God and prayed, but in reality, my hands had a death-grip on my anger, unwilling to give it up for anything or anyone–not even to Jesus.
Has the process of getting rid of this anger been easy? Not at all. In fact, it has been extremely difficult–death-grips are hard to loosen, even if you know it is for the best. My flesh wants to keep this anger, instead of surrendering it to where it belongs. Part of me wants to keep it because it is proof of where I’ve been and what I’ve gone through–a badge of honor. This badge doesn’t glimmer in the sunlight or provoke stories whenever a friend comes over. This badge is a badge that reeks of selfishness, a conceited, sinful heart. Isaiah 64:6 says
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
If our righteous acts are equal to filthy rags, then what can our sin be compared to? Why would I want to carry that around? I would prefer my life to look like this:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Do I still mess up? Do I still get angry? Of course I do. It’s just now, I try to give it to Christ as soon as I can. I don’t want to hold onto it anymore. I know that it doesn’t glorify God at all, and that is enough for me to rid myself of it. My life is a reflection of Christ. I don’t want anything hindering His light from shining through me.