Harnessing Anger
Satan tries to pump anger into our minds. With anger as a catalyst, Satan can destroy God’s character in us.

One of the most common evidences that a person has not yet developed full maturity of his or her personality is the tendency to give way to fits of temper—or anger. Anger, directed at others, or at oneself, is one of the most devastating works of the flesh.

Anger, it has been said, “is the most troublesome emotion for a Christian to handle and the curse of personal relationships.”

Anger manifests itself in many forms. It is important to understand what anger is, whatever form it takes. If you don’t control it—if you don’t repent of the “works of the flesh,” one of which Galatians 5:20 calls outbursts of wrath—anger will keep you out of the Kingdom of God.

There are a lot of angry people in this world. Road rage on crowded highways is one example.

There are people in God’s Church who have the problem of anger—uncontrolled temper.

Sometimes anger is hidden and smoldering; some people don’t express it openly. On the surface, things look calm, but under the surface, these people are boiling. Their anger is implosive.

Others do blow up outwardly. They lose their temper, and you see churning anger in their eyes. Their anger is explosive.

The dictionary defines anger as strong displeasure. In the New Testament, there are two main Greek words for anger—thumos and orgé.

Thumos means turbulent commotion, boiling, agitation of feelings, a sudden explosion of anger, bursting upward then subsiding, much like a match that flares up quickly and then burns out rapidly (Ephesians 4:31; Galatians 5:20).

Orgé has the connotation of a more settled and long-lasting attitude of anger, which moves on unrestrained toward the goal of seeking revenge (Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; Matthew 3:7; James 1:20, etc.). One source likens orgé to coals slowly warming up to red then white hot and holding the high temperature until they cool again.

Neither type of anger is healthy. They can cause high blood pressure, migraine headaches and nervousness.

Uncontrolled anger causes spiritual problems, especially lack of inner peace and joy. God’s Holy Spirit is impeded when anger rules.

We are warned in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not ….” Anger and sin frequently come close together. Anger often leads to sin; it can generate sin. We must be sure that we don’t give Satan room to work in us. “Neither give place to the devil” (verse 27).

Anger is at the core of Satan’s personality. He became angry millions of years ago when he felt he was so beautiful and talented that God should use him more. He became vain, puffed up and angry with God. This led to an outburst of hostility and rebellion.

Satan tries to pump anger into our minds. With anger as a catalyst, Satan can destroy God’s character in us.

Anger promotes rebellion. Anger promotes disobedience. Anger makes it easier to become offended and to leave the Church of God.

How then can we harness anger?

The Bible has the solution to anger. Here are three points that can apply to anger, or almost any other sin you want to overcome:

1) Face most anger as sin. Unrighteous anger is a work of the flesh that must be overcome. Read Galatians 5:19-20.

2) Repent of anger. Go to God and specifically confess the anger. David did. He talked about what was wrong with him in vivid terms. Psalm 32:3-5 is a good example: “When I kept silence [that is, when he didn’t commit to God, when he pretended he wasn’t angry], my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me [God brings us to repentance] …. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”

Acknowledge to God the anger in your life openly and humbly, and God will forgive you.

3) Ask God for help. Just containing anger is not the final solution. It’s better to get rid of anger completely. Ephesians 4:31 says to put anger away.

Through the working of the Spirit of God, we can control and ultimately remove unrighteous anger from our lives. We can temper the temper.

Remember: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God …. Let all [not just some] bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:30-31).

Anger requires more energy output than any other emotion. It is totally devastating to the one practicing it.

The responsible, emotionally mature Christian acknowledges when he or she is angry and works wholeheartedly to manage the emotion rather than letting the emotion control him or her—not allowing Satan to gain a foothold.

Finally, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly …. He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit [quick-tempered] exalteth folly” (Proverbs 14:17, 29).

Let’s be sure to think on these things.