Dear Church Family,
What role does anger play in your life? Is anger your constant companion, or is it something that very rarely raises its head? If you never struggle with anger, then this article is not for you. But for those of us who have to deal with some level of anger, I would encourage you to read on.
When Kathy and I were first married, I would get angry on a regular basis—I was rarely angry with her, sometimes angry with the kids, but often angry about some frustrating circumstance. It only ever was expressed as venting or railing, but it was very unpleasant to be around. Logically I knew I had nothing to be angry about, but still I found myself getting angry often.
Because God had called me to be a pastor, and as I was beginning to prepare myself for ministry, I wanted complete victory over anger. Who wants an angry pastor? I didn’t want to figure out some anger management technique. This always seemed shallow like, “I’m burning on the inside, but I’m showing calm on the outside.” That didn’t sound like victory to me. No, I told the Lord, “I want total victory over this anger. I don’t even want to feel angry.”
Searching the Scriptures, God gave me a process to make a permanent change. I’ve taught this and used it with a number of people who have experienced victory when they apply this process to their lives. I want to share it with you today. Do I still get angry at times? Yes, but I can truly say God has given me victory over anger.
Step 1: Forget the Past. One of the very sinister ways the enemy defeats us from making changes is to remind us of all the times we have failed before. The Apostle Paul said, “one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13b NKJV). Instead of letting your past dictate your future, define what victory would be for you and believe that God will change you!
Step 2: Hide God’s Word in Your Heart. David said, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11 NLT). There is a supernatural power that counteracts sin when you memorize and meditate on God’s word. This is the step most people skip and because of that they never have victory. Your mind must be reprogrammed and it is reprogrammed through God’s word. Paul teaches, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2a NLT).
Step 3: Make a Covenant with God to change. Don’t take the change lightly. Specifically define what you desire to do. Create a boundary of protection around you. Like Job who said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman” (Job 31:1 NLT). Make a serious commitment to change.
Step 4: Recognize what it feels like to yield to the Holy Spirit. Victory comes when you get yourself under the Holy Spirit’s control. How would you know if you have yielded to the Holy Spirit? Paul tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23a NIV84). If you have yielded control to the Holy Spirit at any moment, you will be experiencing love and joy and peace and patience and…self control. Does that make sense? If you’re not feeling those things then you are not under the Spirit’s control. It is very objective not subjective.
Step 5: Look for Victory Today. Don’t worry about never getting angry again. This would feel overwhelming. So set a goal to have victory for the present day…just like Jesus said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).
Step 6: Begin a Streak. Once you have gone a full day without getting angry, try to have victory a second day, and then a third, and so on. Pretty soon you have a streak going. Paul said, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NKJV). If you break the streak, begin a new one!
Step 7: Praise God for the Victory. As you consistently apply these steps and God gives you victory, don’t forget to thank Him, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV).
It is God’s will that you have victory over areas of temptation and sin with which you struggle. Anger is just one of them. These steps will work for other areas of your life as well. My hope is that we can live in the victory that God desires to give. On our website you can download a document that includes these steps and memory verses on anger. “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
Onward in Victory,