Phew. Was today ever a trying day. I received a troubling text message early in the day, and it went downhill from there. I was angry. And I generally do not anger quickly or often. Then when my son and I walked into Starbucks tonight after dinner, I realized I had not consumed my morning coffee. I looked at my boy and said, “Holy cow. Now I know why I was so angry today: I didn’t drink my morning coffee.” When I placed my order, I explained to my barista, Matt, that I was in dire need of his caffeinated potion.
Oh, how wrong I was.
And how simple it would have been had my anger been due to a mere caffeine deficiency.
Whilst driving home from our errands (coffee in hand) I considered my anger. And a sobering thought entered my head. I have not been devoting as much time as usual to my private life with my God. Yes, I acknowledge that I’m constantly promoting the reading of scripture and communication with God, but I have abysmally failed recently on both of these scores. I sat in my passenger seat, quiet for a few minutes, then turned to my son and said, “You know what? I need to read my Bible when I get home and talk to its Author.”
You see, Friend, I realized my anger was due to my distance from the One Who knows, loves, and wants me.
During His sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ addressed the needs that people have, directing “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Now, I realize that His address concerned physical things, but what if He meant emotional things, too? Spiritual things? His righteousness was certainly not part of me today, as evidenced by my anger.
James wrote “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). Oh, goodness, gracious, me, oh, my. Let me describe my day: Quick to speak. Quick to wrath. And working all SORTS of unrighteousness.
Paul said of himself in his letter to Timothy (I Timothy 1:15) that he was the chief of sinners. I oft say that of myself, and today was no exception. How sorry I am now for that. A day wasted. In anger. Unrighteous anger. Ugh.
Now, I’m not saying that anger is, in itself, bad. Sometimes it’s downright good and can be the catalyst for positive change. But that’s not what happened for me today. I angered irrationally because I had not been devoting time to learning of my God or His joy, peace, and righteousness. I had not been recently seeking FIRST the kingdom of God OR His righteousness. Paul, in his letter to the Church at Ephesus, said “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26-27). I think I can safely (and unfortunately) affirm that I gave the devil that opportunity.
I could go on and on, providing verse after verse about anger. I think the message I needed to ponder tonight, though, was that if/when I do not spend time with my God, I am far from Him. And His righteousness. My anger today, methinks, was about THAT (my distance from His righteousness). And not AT ALL about my morning lack of java.
March 24, 2016