The Bible has a lot to say about strong emotions and our responses. Let’s dig in and see what’s there about anger and patience—since one seems to be tied to a lack of the other. Thankfully, God has much more than just commands for us to follow; the gospel also gives us resources for endurance and faithfulness while we’re in the trenches of motherhood and the busy grind of everyday life.
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Luke 11:13
Scripture Mentioned in Podcast
- Ephesians 4:26
- 1 Corinthians 13:4
- Ephesians 4:1-3
- Ephesians 4:27
- Proverbs 15:21
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey friends, this is Heidi St John. Thanks for joining me today at my little corner of the Internet. Today is Wednesday, June 12th—this is episode number 778. Today we’re going to be diving into week two of our Bible Study at MomStrong International and we’re going to be talking about how to become free from anger. God has freedom for you.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
So thanks everybody for tuning in today. This is a busy week for me. I leave today for Denver. I’m going to be speaking for the CHEC conference there with my friend Ken Ham. Really excited to see what God does this weekend. I’ve heard it’s a full house, so if you haven’t gotten tickets yet or you’re interested in coming, you might want to hurry up and check that out. I’m going to be, hopefully getting in sometime this evening, so cannot wait. I’ll be doing the opening keynote and the closing keynote, and we’ve got a great weekend plan for you in Denver for the Christian Educators of Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Convention. So, looking forward to seeing you guys there. Also wanted to let you know that coming up, I’m so excited about what God’s doing here at MomStrong International as we carry on through the summer Bible Studies, and this is a great, great, great time for you to make a habit of getting into the Word of God with your kids of studying His Word.
As the Bible says, to show yourself approved workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing— or rightly handling—God’s Word. And there are so much miss information out there right now—that was a nice word—false teaching is what it is. There’s so much false teaching out there right now and you have the ability to know and discern God’s Word, and you can do that through studying His Word. And so we want to encourage you to join us at MomStrong International. Also to join us for the Scripture Writing Challenge—speaking of which, today’s verse is found in Luke 11:13. This is out of the Scripture Writing Challenge. This is today’s verse. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
I love this because it’s exactly what I was just saying to you. You have the Holy Spirit and God wants to help you understand, and study, and apply His Word to your life. So check it out at MomStrongInternational.com. We are in the second week of our study on the fruits of the Spirit and let’s go ahead and open up this study in prayer.
Father, we thank you for the opportunity that you give us here at the podcast to study Your Word together. I thank you Lord that you are intimately acquainted with our hearts, that you love us. That your Word says that You love us and care for us. We thank You that Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Lord, as we talk a little bit about anger and Your desire that we be free from it, and that we don’t sin in our anger—Lord, I pray that you’d help us. Lord, if there’s anyone who’s listening to this, who can already feel that touch of Your Spirit that is thinking—Oh man, that’s me. I’m angry. I’m struggling with anger. Lord, would you just be present right now? Holy Spirit, we need your help. Father, there’s so many things that are happening in the culture right now that are discouraging and frustrating and can lead to us feeling defeated and alone. And Lord, I pray that we will be reminded by Your Spirit that we are never alone, and that You have victory for us. And so thank you Lord, as we study your Word, that You will help us. Thank You for Your help. Lord, I thank you for the Holy Spirit and we just invite You into this conversation and we bless Your name. Father, may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight. Oh Lord, our rock and our redeemer. In Jesus name. Amen.
All right. If you’re in the MomStrong study with me, go ahead and open it up to week two. We’re talking about patience this week as we study the fruits of the Spirit. Maybe you’re like—wait a second, anger is not a fruit of the Spirit. No, but the fruit of the Spirit that we’re talking about this week in particular is patience. And we’re going to look at it through the lens of being free. Really, when we get angry, right? And we, when we lash out in anger at somebody—we’ve lost our patience. Am I right? Uh, yeah. You’re right. That’s what it is, right? And so the Bible teaches us in Ephesians 4:26—that we can be angry and not sin. And in fact, here’s what it says—be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
This is kind of a hard thing, I think, sometimes for us to teach our children because we’re not…I think as a general rule we are a bunch of chickens. Do you guys know what I mean? I mean, I think it’s hard for us to address frustrations that we might have particularly outside of our family. So let’s say there’s a frustrating situation that you’re experiencing in church, or a frustrating friendship that you are engaged in. And rather than address it, we allow a root of bitterness to grow up in our hearts, thus beginning to test our patience, right? Which is a fruit of the Spirit. And before we know it, we’ve let the sun go down on our anger multiple times…so multiple sunsets, and we’ve not resolved this and we end up being angry—and in our anger then we end up sinning.
And that’s what God doesn’t want us to do. And so as we become MomStrong over at MomStrong International, we’re going to take a little look at it because I want us to be able to say—Father, I see this as an issue in my life and I want you to help me. The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love is patient. And so when we exercise that patience, what we’re really saying is—I love you. So think about this with me for just a minute. Our kids are really good at revealing lots of things about us as parents, right? And one of the things that often gets brought to the surface is just how little patience we have. Whenever I go through the checkout stand at the grocery store in the middle of the day, this doesn’t happen to me so much anymore because my kids are older, most of them. But people used to say to me—Oh, why aren’t your kids in school? And inevitably one of my kids would say—oh, we’re homeschooled. And almost always the response would be—oh my goodness, I don’t know how you do that. I don’t have the patience for that.
So everybody listening to this right now, mom in the shower, mom doing the laundry, mom out on a walk, mom doing the dishes—stop for a second. If you have a supernatural amount of patience, raise your hand. Nobody. I’m not even in your shower with you, aren’t you glad? And I know you didn’t raise your hand because none of us has that supernatural patience. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It’s evidence that God is at work in our lives and we need it because I think motherhood, and parenting in general, and fatherhood— it’ll test us. It’ll take us right to the brink of what we know that we can do in the natural. So think about this. When our little person needs three full minutes to determine which doughnut is the one for this morning’s treat in the grocery store. But you’re pressed for time, it’s going to raise your blood pressure a little bit, right? When you’re verbally processing. High schooler wants to talk through birthday party plans for an hour while you’re trying to get paperwork done or trying to get something done ahead of a deadline—it might test your ability to enjoy that moment with her and test you to multitask your stuff with grace. Right? When you’re recycling sits forgotten in the garage again, it’s going to find that last nerve inside your head and twang it like little out of tune fiddle. So what do we do? Another spilled drink, another breakdown, another choice that makes me ask them—What were you thinking? Right?
I never thought I had an issue with anger until I had kids. And I know it isn’t just me. So I know that this study is going to really encourage you. I’ve learned that it’s a lot easier to have patience when I’m basically in control of my schedule in my life, but then all of a sudden some things, you know—they don’t work the way we want them to. We get hangry, right? That’s my husband. He’d be like—Yep, that’s me. And maybe we lose sight for just a minute. And the Bible has a lot to say about strong emotions. God understands our emotions. He created us.
So this month we’re going to dig in and see what’s there about anger and patience since one seems to definitely be tied to a lack of the other. I praise the Lord because He has so much more than commands for us to follow. The gospel gives us resources for endurance and faithfulness while we’re in the trenches of parenting, while we’re in the trenches with the grind of everyday life—God says He has help for us. Ephesians 4:1-3—therefore I the prisoner of the Lord. This is the apostle Paul, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of which you’ve been called. Wow. Therefore, I Paul, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling, which you have been called with all humility. Moment of silence. With patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Now as we read this together, we noticed that Paul is explaining why it’s important for us, and exactly how we need to walk in this passage. And he’s actually saying the why also, which is why I love this so much. He’s saying—listen, I’m going to implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you’ve been called. So the calling to which we’ve been called, the calling to which you teenager who’s listening to this right now, the calling to every mom and dad listening to this right now—our calling is to be stewards of the message that is the gospel. It’s the message that is the gospel.
And when we lash out in anger, the first thing it does is it tells people around us—we’re actually not walking in the Spirit. I think this is so interesting because the very first characteristic that the apostle Paul brings to the Ephesians in his letter is humility. Really, when we lash out in anger, what we’re saying is—I’m more important than you are. I have reached my limit. You have pushed me to my limit and I can no longer be full of patient, I can no longer be full of self-control—another fruit of the Spirit. And he’s telling us that the very first fruit of the Spirit, humility, helps us to experience the freedom to live out all the others. Because if we don’t have humility then we’re gonna have a hard time with the other ones.
If we don’t have humility, we can’t be gentle, right? If we don’t have humility, we’re not going to care about patience. If we don’t have humility, we’re going to really struggle to show tolerance for somebody else who might be having a struggle because—hey, we don’t have that struggle. So there you go. Get over it, right? So as we read this, Paul is giving us instructions on not only why it’s important for us not to be angry, but also how we apply the principles of his words. I want you guys to think with me for just a minute.
Let’s step back for just a second and think about this. What’s the danger of letting the sun go down on our anger? In other words, when Paul says—don’t let the sun go down on your anger—does he mean that literally or as a principal? Now, sometimes—I think it’s both, because I think sometimes you’re in a situation where you can’t address it right now, and the sun’s going down. So let’s not get all hung up on whether or not the sun is going up or going down. I think what the Apostle Paul is saying is don’t let very much time go by before you resolve this. Because what happens is you become very, very vulnerable to a root of bitterness. And when bitterness sets in, we are in trouble. When we start harboring our anger—some of you guys just need to let it go, right? I’m not saying every little thing that bothers you—go confront that person. Sometimes, we need to go—Lord, should I be angry about this? And the Lord’s gently going to say—nope, let it go. And we’re going to have to let it go. Right? But sometimes we really do need to address it. And so this principle works in marriage, this works in our friendships—we don’t want to be known as men and women who harbor anger, who are not letting the gospel actually play out in our lives.
There’s an episode, I love in Veggie Tales, and there’s an episode in Larry Boy—which is a spin-off of veggie tales called Larry boy and The Angry Eyebrows. Have you guys ever seen this, oh my goodness—one of my favorite shows ever. In the episode, Larry’s arch nemesis, Awful Alvin….I’m gonna let that sit right there. He sends out a fleet of flying eyebrows that attached to people who are harboring anger, possessing them until they’re consumed by their own rage. I’ve always thought that’d be so funny. Like every once in a while I’ll say to my kids—Ooh, I can see you’re angry eyebrows. Right? And it just kind of makes you laugh. It’s sort of disarming.
And The lesson of the episode is summed up by Bok Choy, the wise teacher of Super Hero 101 at the local community college. He says, “Be warned….If you hold on to your anger, your anger will hold on to you…” This is a great way for kids—and maybe even adults—to grasp this concept. And so, This is what Paul means when he says—“Do not give the devil a foothold”. That’s Ephesians 4:27. Because when we harbor anger, it quickly turns into bitterness, which syncs into our heart like a harpoon—and pulls out gossip, and passive aggression, and manipulation. And we see this all over the culture today and I have seen it in my own everyday life, right? We’re going to get hurt. People are going to let us down. Friends are going to gossip about us. Friends are going to steal things from us, right?
Whether it’s the affection of another friend, or sometimes intellectual property or whatever it is—and we can get angry and hung up. And the Bible says—in your anger, do not sin. Why? Because we are in ambassadors. We’re ambassadors of the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. In Proverbs 15:21, the Bible teaches us that a kind word, a gentle word, turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. And so this doesn’t mean that we should shy away from confrontation—something we’re talking about in this study this month, and we’re going to give you opportunities to support this with other verses out of God’s Word—but it’s very clear all throughout Scripture that God is saying you are an ambassador of the living God. The Apostle Paul said—it is as if God is making His appeal through you— and God cannot make his appeal through an angry Christian.
Now, I’ve had a lot of opportunities in my life to wrestle with the idea of anger. I grew up in an angry home. And you know, I could sit here, I guess all day long and try to analyze why there was so much anger in my home—and some of the anger was justified. A great deal of it wasn’t. But I can tell you that the end result—it’s very, very damaging. And we don’t want to be known as angry parents. We don’t, we don’t. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids to leave my home and think of me as this angry, screaming mom running around my house like a clown with my hair on fire. I don’t want that. And I also think that when we struggle to control our anger, our children begin to seek God as angry. And we’re going to dig deeper into this in the study. So I don’t have time to go into it today, but I want to encourage you—download the study at MomStrongInternational.com. You can see it. It’s right there.
I want to dig into this idea of God’s anger because God, He has something the Bible calls wrath. The Bible says that the Lord is a jealous and avenging God. That the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. And I think sometimes when we don’t understand what that means… I mean God is angry at wickedness, right? God is a God of justice. He’s also a God of mercy. And I think sometimes Christians, and non-Christians alike, we can wrestle with this idea of God’s anger. And as parents, if we don’t show our children what it means to have self-control and to get control of anger in our own lives when our children learn about God’s righteous anger, they misinterpret it and they go—well, my mom was a jerk. She was angry all the time. My Dad, he was, he was awful to me. And if that’s the way God is, I don’t want anything to do with Him. So we want to teach our children what God says about anger. And if you’ve ever struggled with the concept of God’s anger and God’s wrath, this is going to be a study that you will love because we’re gonna unpack it for you a little bit and we’ll see that God’s anger and His love fit together in a beautiful way. But God knows that as human beings created in His image, image bearers of the King of kings and the Lord of lords, as ambassadors for the message of the Gospel—we must be controlled by love.
Our worldview is shaped by the culture that we’re living in right now. And the culture subscribes and—I don’t even think they do it on purpose—to a philosophy that’s called Expressive Individualism. So this is the belief that everybody has within them an identity to be discovered, a true self just waiting to be actualized. Robert Bellah, in his book “Habits of the Heart” wrote that 80% of Americans agree with this statement: “an individual should arrive at his or her own religious beliefs independent of any church or synagogue.” In another study, 91% of Americans (and 76% of regular church goesr) agreed that “to find yourself, look within yourself.”
Oh my goodness. You see, at the heart of modern societies, is this idea that we get to define right and wrong for ourselves. And in fact, the culture says this is the only authentic way to be a human being. And the net result of that has been the creation of a deep distrust of any authority figure—whether it’s parents, whether it’s a pastor, whether it’s the Bible, or even God Himself. And so because of this, culture has no problem with a God who loves unconditionally, but it can’t fathom the idea of a God who holds us accountable for our wrong beliefs and actions. After all, we’re just following our heart so we can be happy—what’s wrong with that? So Tim Keller was the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City for many years. And after each service, he was known for holding a Q&A time to answer the questions of skeptics. And an objection to God’s wrath was almost a weekly occurrence, right? One answer that he gave to a woman’s objection was, “Why aren’t you offended by the idea of a forgiving God?” And when the woman heard his answer, she was taken aback.
But what he was getting at was this: we live in a certain culture that shapes our objections to the counter-cultural truths of the Bible. And those of us who live in 21st century Western society typically don’t have any problem with what the Bible teaches about forgiveness and turning the other cheek. And you love your neighbor and all that. We’re totally fine with the idea with a loving God, but we struggle to understand the wrath of God. Whereas those who come from a more traditional cultural, they have a revulsion to the idea of a God of unconditional love, but the doctrine of a God of judgment is not a hard pill to swallow for them at all.
And so as hard as it might be to believe, Western society isn’t the final court in which to judge what the Bible says. Instead, the Bible is counter-cultural in all societies—just at different points. And this is why we have to let the Bible stand in judgment of culture, not the other way around. And God’s saying—you can be free. You can be free to follow me, free from your anger, free from a wrong understanding of what it looks like to walk in right relationship with Me.
God set you free. For those of you who have grown up in an angry at home, I’m here to tell you, I understand where you’re coming from. God wants to set you free. You are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making His appeal through you. It’s as if God was saying to the world, through your life—come back to me. Come back to me. And so if you’re struggling to understand that or you’re struggling to come to grips with an anger issue in your own life, or you’re struggling to understand how God can be both loving and wrathful—join us at MomStrong International. We are digging deep into the Word of God. You’re going to love it. It’s going to encourage you and bless you.
And also, I want to encourage you, we would love to hear from you if you’ve got questions that you’d like to see addressed at the podcast. If you’d like to find out more about MomStrong International, check it out at MomStrongInternational.com. It’s a great time to jump on board with this and to experience the freedom that God has for you as you study His Word and make it the primary go to for your life.
You guys, you are loved. God loves you. He has good things for you.
Thanks for listening to everybody. We so appreciate it. We thank you so much for leaving reviews for the podcast at iTunes and we read them everyday. I’m going to read a few more for you when we come back to the podcast on Friday. Have a great Wednesday everybody, and I’ll see you back here in a couple of days.
Write to Heidi:
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
Support this ministry by donating through E-giving. You can also send donations to: 1100 NE34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682