Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Does Not Produce Righteousness

In general, I am not an emotional person.  I rarely show large amounts of excitement outwardly, and I hardly ever weep, even in sad circumstances.  There are exceptions to this, of course.  Unfortunately, I have been experiencing one kind of emotion frequently lately: frustration, impatience, annoyance.  Simply put, anger.

Now I did not act out in great shows of it, but my attitude was gruffer, my tone harsher, and my words much sharper than they should be.  I struggled against it in vain and could not figure out what I was doing wrong.

Then I started working on the first chapter of James. I love the book of James so much.  Every time I read it, it convicts me to the core. When I studied verses 19-20, I saw my own behavior flung in front of my face.

"Know this, my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."

Wow.  I had memorized the first part long ago and I now repeat it to myself, under my breath, when I am tempted to become angry.  But it was the second part that truly struck me.  It is so simple and so true.  There is no time, even when I think that there is some injustice, or that things are not happening as they should, when my anger will produce His righteousness.  It just won't happen.  So if I am striving to "be holy as He is holy," I must push aside my petty frustrations and focus on Him.

He has been revealing lately that these things that cause me annoyance are perhaps to make me turn and look outside myself.  Whether it is running late for an event, or having people cut in front of me in line, or tripping over other people's messes, He can use the situation to shape me to be more like him.  When my family is late, God can teach me to overcome my perfectionism.  When I see people taking rights or privileges that are not theirs to have, He can teach me to overcome my selfishness and obsession with "fairness."  When I trip over the legos on the stairs or the life jackets on the pool deck, I can choose to thank God for the healthy body he has given me that enables me to be able to clean up the legos and the life jackets. :)

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