Extinguishing A Fire

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.” -Psalm 37:8 (NIV)

Anger can be a very destructive force. When our rage is unleashed, anyone and anything can be a target. Controlled by our fury we do things that we regret, and say things we do not mean; inflicting damage both upon ourselves and the relationships we share with others. Sometimes we say that we cannot help ourselves and that our anger is something that cannot be dealt with and changed. But the truth is that anger is like a fire, and a fire grows when it is fed. The more we allow things to feed our anger and irritation, the more our anger will develop into an inferno which will consume all in its path. When our ire has dimmed and we look upon the devastation we have caused, we hang our heads in shame and resolve to not descend into such anger again.

The problem is that we cannot remain true to such a resolution. No matter how hard we may try to search for inner peace and keep a reign on our anger by our own strength, there come moments when we lose all sense of calm and self-control. That is because our sinful nature renders any human attempt to control our rage useless and as long as this dominates in our lives our sinfulness will be expressed in our anger. However, there is hope! Our anger can be dealt with once Christ deals with our sinful nature. When we allow His Spirit to enter our hearts and carry out His redemptive work in our lives, He will cleanse us of our wickedness so that His righteousness may be made manifest in our lives. By surrendering our attitudes to His Spirit, He will douse the flames of our anger so that His love and peace may overflow from within us, bringing life and healing to all who bear witness to the work He is doing within our hearts.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Don’t Start That Fight!

“He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction.” –Proverbs 17:19 (NIV)

It seems to be a universal fact that little boys are fascinated with bugs. I was no exception to this rule. One day as I was playing outside on a bright summer’s day, I came across an ant colony and a small stick. As I saw the ants hard at work, my inquisitive mind asked what would happen if I placed the stick inside the hole. I grabbed the stick and plunged it down into the ant colony. Nothing happened. It must be noted that my inquisitive mind was also a mischievous one, and I thought it would be a good idea to keep ramming the stick down the hole. To my horror I found a swarm of angry ants, and quite a few with wings, pouring up out from the hole wanting to know who was destroying their home. Terrified I dropped the stick and ran, my lesson duly learnt.

While we may know that it is probably not a good idea to agitate insects, or any other wildlife for that matter, sometimes it seems that this lesson does not apply in our interactions with others. Too often we use our words and actions to provoke others and cause unnecessary arguments. Why do we do this? The answer is found deep in our flawed human nature. Our pride loves opportunities where we can bring glory to ourselves. That is why pride is often what sparks arguments, because in quarrels we have the chance to prove to others that we are somehow superior or better than them. But if such an attitude has taken root in our minds, we will only reap destruction and misery as our stubborn pride tears cherished relationships apart. Our only hope to be spared from such a fate is when we have allowed Christ to be at the centre of our lives. When His Spirit has infiltrated every area of our being and we have submitted ourselves wholly to Him, He will teach us to be humble so that His love may overflow from within us; bringing life to our relationships and healing to the broken.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Love Your Friends

“A friend loves at all times,”- Proverbs 17:17a (NIV)

The beautiful thing about friendship is that it is timeless. Even if close friends have been separated by time and distance, the love and bond between them still remains. God has blessed me with such friendships and my prayer is that I will be a good friend to the ones He has given me. But friendships can often be fragile, and it is tragic when friends part under unpleasant circumstances. When harmful attitudes such as anger, jealousy, or impatience seep into the minds of friends even the most trivial of offences can separate the strongest of bonds. The consequences of allowing these attitudes to infiltrate our minds are painful and as we look back on the memories of broken friendships we are filled with regret wondering if things could have been different if we had simply not taken the steps we took.

All of us are but humans and as such we have been tainted by sin. Due to our fallen state, it is easy for us to give into harmful and destructive attitudes. Sin tells us that we must always glorify ourselves and insist on having our way at all costs. But in reality when we place ourselves before others, we have actually bowed our knee to sin and allowed it to sever our relationship with God and with those we care about. How then can we make sure that sin does not get in the way of our relationships?  The truth is that we can do nothing about it by ourselves, but only by the power of Christ working within us. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter our hearts and seek to conform ourselves to Him in our attitudes and actions, He will carry out his restorative work in our lives. As we turn our face to Him and away from ourselves, He will train us in His love so that His love will overflow from our hearts and into the lives of others. Bearing with one another in love is something that only Christ can help us accomplish and when we choose to abide in Christ, He will order our friendships so that life may abound and hearts be turned to Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.