anger, emotion, God’s Word, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Anger: Slowing Anger to Help Us Conform to God’s Image

The anger is rarely righteous and does not help us reflect the image of God. We must look inward and to His Word to inform how we act upon our emotion.



As a child, I boiled over with outrage on a regular basis. I felt the anger so viscerally, I thought it was important to let those around me know how angry I was. My temper tantrums were the things of legends. Neighbors called to check on me. Mom and Dad tried different strategies to address them. All the while, I was content to just express the heck out of it.

The anger is rarely righteous and does not help us reflect the image of God. We must look inward and to His Word to inform how we act upon our emotion. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anger #emotion #GodsWord

Addressing the Problem

One strategy my parents tried was a punching bag. It was an inflatable balloon, weighted at the bottom so that when I hit it, it might fall all the way over and touch the floor and still right itself. The best thing about this new addition was that they put it in the basement.

The door of the basement led to wooden stairs and held a large ironing board. When I was told to go down to use the punching bag, I had the distinct pleasure of swinging the door open, causing the ironing board to swing and bang against the door. Then, I would slam the door behind me, producing a cacophony of banging as the board bounced back and forth. Subsequently, I got to stomp down the stairs, and this was all before I ever got to the punching bag.

I was very content to rage openly. I found satisfaction in releasing my temper in physical ways. Throwing things felt better than not throwing things. Yelling felt necessary.

As an adult, I had to work through this instinct to rage openly. I sought counseling and learned how to be slow to act on my anger. I learned how to be silent until I could address my hurts more dispassionately.

Discarding Entitlement

But let me tell you a secret. To this day, after all the counseling and all my study of God’s Word, that little stomping menace still lives inside me. I feel incredibly entitled to my outbursts. Even in apologizing, I feel the need to express how rightfully I held my anger. “I’m sorry but…” is a phrase I’m constantly running away from.

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:9, ESV

The problem with this entitlement I hold so dearly is it is incredibly foolish. I need to have patience and grace for others. To do so is not only wise but in alignment with the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:37-39).

The Anger of Man is not Righteous

The thing is, I like to trick myself into thinking that my anger is righteous. Even Jesus showed anger, right? He overturned tables in the temple, turned marketplace. He decried the Pharisees’ hypocrisy, calling them a brood of vipers (Matthew 21:12-17).

So, logically speaking, if Jesus lived a perfect life and expressed anger, then I, too, can express righteous anger.

And this is true, but there’s a small problem–my anger is almost never righteous.

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.

James 1:19-2, ESV

Jesus’ Righteous Anger

Jesus was angry on the Father’s behalf. He saw people so steeped in sin and hypocrisy that He felt the betrayal against God. I, on the other hand, am angry that someone else’s sin hurts or annoys me. It gets in the way of me being happy or comfortable. This is not righteous anger. Even when I have been wronged, the anger that follows is still the anger of man, being fueled by the warring desires inside of myself.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.

James 4: 1-2, ESV

Feeling Anger vs. Sinning in Anger

We are all works in progress, battling the sin that wars inside us. But, how? Are we to never feel anger? That would not be in line with scripture, either.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26-27, ESV

Paul does not tell the church in Ephesus not to be angry, but to be angry and not sin. How we act on our anger is the opportunity to choose between conforming to the image of God or giving into sin, which gives the devil a foothold in our lives. We should always assess the source of our anger and find the righteous way to address it.

How we act on our anger is the opportunity to choose between conforming to the image of God or giving into sin. We should always assess the source of our anger and find the righteous way to address it. Click To Tweet

As Always, Look to the Word

The Bible is quite clear in how to address quarrels between people. We are to approach people in a spirit of both truth and grace. We are to avoid stirring up division. Paul even tells the Romans not to quarrel over opinions with people who are weak in the faith, cautioning them against passing judgment.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:4, ESV

I am a work in progress, and will probably battle with the sin of anger for my whole life. However, I will arm myself with the Word, gain intimate knowledge of what is righteous, versus what is simply of man. I will continue to strive to be slow to speak and slow to express rage so I can walk away from my entitlement. Away and into the arms of my Father who always upholds me because He loves me in my very most unrighteous moments.

The anger is rarely righteous and does not help us reflect the image of God. We must look inward and to His Word to inform how we act upon our emotion. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anger #emotion #GodsWord

unsplash-logoeberhard grossgasteiger
Sisterhood, emotion, serving, redeemed, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Sisters: Learning Priorities and Redemption through Mary and Martha

We can often become defensive when others point out our shortcomings. Jesus used both Mary and Martha to teach a powerful lesson. Our walk with God strengthens through the encouragement and example of our fellow sisters! 



And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’

Luke 10:39-42, ESV

Jesus used both Mary and Martha to teach a powerful lesson. Our walk with God strengthens through the encouragement and examples of our fellow sisters! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #sisters #scripture #emotion #redemption #serve

Sisters

My older sister and I joke that I am Mary and she is Martha. To understand what we mean by this, you need to understand who Mary and Martha are in the Bible. These two women are best known for being the sisters of Lazarus, the dead man that Jesus called out from the grave. Many people can easily recall the story in which Jesus resurrects Lazarus from the grave, but few seem to know who Mary and Martha were.

Martha gets a bad rap for this verse in the Bible. It seems that Martha is doing everything wrong and Mary is doing everything right. Though this may be true, it should never discount Jesus’ love for both sisters. Though Martha possessed the ability to poorly prioritize, Jesus makes her aware of this and offers redemption.

We can learn a valuable lesson from the redeemed Martha, Ladies. Today, Beloved, consider these questions as you read: “Am I more like Mary or Martha?” and “What lesson did Jesus teach Martha that will help us in our lives today?” 

Mary’s God Given Characteristics

Any Marys out there?

ME! ME! ME!

Mary is best described as the prayer warrior, deep thinker, and more often than not, an overly emotional woman. Mary LOVES Jesus deeply, with a sincere heart. I think it is safe to say that Mary’s heart was “smitten” with Jesus. She is the one that hears another woman’s troubles and weeps WITH her. Mary has the ability to connect with people on a personal level because she meets them where they are.

Mary is found sitting at the feet of Jesus quite a bit, (John 11:2, vs. 32; John 12:3). She was SO intrigued by Him, that she became blind and deaf to everything and everyone around her. Including her sister, Martha. Some might say she was, oblivious to the obvious.

I am like this all the time! Once I enter my time with Jesus, I have an extremely hard time stopping. I think things like:

“I should probably stop reading and go feed my kids their lunch. It’s like 1:30 pm!” -((cough cough)) not joking ((cough cough))-

The struggle is real! I seriously have NO problem neglecting my house chores to sit at the feet of Jesus. Nope, no guilt at all!

Mary’s Emotional Side

Mary’s relationship with Jesus is evident to all who know her. She is the woman that is constantly talking about Him. Her ability to pray and love from a heart that is captivated by God is authentic and contagious.

Mary is more than likely the overdramatic and sensitive woman. She wears her heart on her sleeve; so when someone gives her a taste of their mind, it doesn’t usually go well for her. She doesn’t often fight back. She cries. Okay. Okay. I cry! Her sensitivity is what draws crowds to her though, (John 11:31).

Not to mention, Mary’s emotions brought Jesus himself to tears. John 11:35 “Jesus Wept.” The shortest verse in the entire Bible. Pretty powerful, Mary Ladies!

Truthfully though, Mary wanted nothing more than for people everywhere to feel the height, depth, and width of God’s love for them. She has felt that kind of love and hopes all will experience it in life. Mary demonstrates her love for Jesus by having a deep, personal relationship with Him. Mary’s Spirit is MOVED to simply sit and bask in the presence of Him whenever He enters the room.

Does Jesus have that effect on you, Dear Sister?

Martha’s God Given Characteristics

I view Martha as your typical type A woman that clearly has a gift of hospitality and a heart to serve those around her. Martha is naturally task oriented and probably prone to being the person who thrives on hearing “That a girl!” Her top love language would easily be Words of Affirmation!

Martha LOVES Jesus and lives her life dedicated to following Him and all His commandments. She is naturally a rule follower, so for her, keeping Jesus’ commandments is a challenge that she enjoys pursuing. This girl seems to NEVER miss a beat. She prioritizes and uses her time efficiently and effectively every day.

She is also the one that pampers you with such love and kindness when you enter her home that leaves you thinking “is this girl even real!?”.

Martha’s Serving Side

My older sister has a knack for this! She will leave welcome baskets for anyone that stays in her home filled with such love and attention to detail. I remember staying over at her house one night and seeing this sweet basket all done up with rolled up washcloths, fresh clean soap, face mask, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste and a sweet note telling me to relax and enjoy. Oh, and FRESH flowers by my bedside!

This kind of hospitality, in my opinion, is VARSITY level. We need more on the Varsity team of hospitality if you ask me. Martha cares for people because she recognizes how much Jesus cares for her. She displays how to serve God’s people with ACTS of kindness and love. She naturally puts her love for Jesus into action. Her spirit was literally MOVED to ACT on her love for Jesus.

By doing this, she misses the point of Jesus’ visit though. To listen in close relationship with Him. Basically, It’s hard to listen to Jesus when we’re moving around and have our minds preoccupied, Sisters.

Prioritize According To Jesus

Clearly, we can see that these two sisters are vastly different from one another. Yet they share something in common; They both love Jesus. They show their love for Him in different ways, which we see played out in these few verses.

Mary shows her love for Jesus by sitting at his feet and soaking in His every word. Martha shows her love for Jesus by preparing the meal and cleaning her house so He is comfortable. Jesus appreciated both sisters. Yet, he chooses to acknowledge Mary here. He does this is to point out how to prioritize correctly according to God’s will. God says to Put. Him. First. PERIOD.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

Matthew 6:33, CSB

Our Lord, Jesus, was never upset with Martha for serving and showing hospitality. He simply didn’t want her focus to be primarily on her tasks. This is the same for us as well. Even if our motives are good, if we aren’t careful, those tasks have a way of keeping us from a relationship with Christ.

Mary chose to prioritize Jesus first. Because Jesus loves Martha, He acknowledges this to her, gently. With compassion, He calmly makes her aware of her sin. He then offers her redemption through this newfound awareness. He does this for us too, Sisters!

How Does This Lesson Apply To Us?

This is an excellent lesson for all of us women to learn. We should never assume that our sisters in Christ are doing something wrong by not doing what WE think they should be doing instead. This type of toxic thinking only leads us to resent our sisters instead of cherishing them.

To understand our sisters in Christ well, we need to intentionally note how they love Jesus well. By doing this, we save ourselves from falling into the trap of distractions and false motives. You see, Martha may have been distracted with her tasks, but she also thought her sister was being inconsiderate.

Mary, on the other hand, never intended to ignore her sister. Her motive was simply to love Jesus well. For her, this meant spending time with Him.

And when Jesus makes us aware of our sin, by pointing out what’s right through another sister in Christ, we would be wise to imitate her good example. Doing this, we become a force to be reckoned with. Looking at each other this way will help us grow deeper in our faith.

Today, Sisters in Christ, let’s acknowledge the sins in our own lives and let’s receive Jesus’ redeeming love. Together, with Jesus, we are stronger!

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12, ESV

To understand our sisters in Christ well, we need to intentionally note how they love Jesus well. This saves us from falling into the trap of distractions and false motives. Click To Tweet

Jesus used both Mary and Martha to teach a powerful lesson. Our walk with God strengthens through the encouragement and examples of our fellow sisters! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #sisters #scripture #emotion #redemption #serve

Daiga Ellaby

compassion. emotion, faith, vulnerability, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Vulnerability: Having A Compassionate Heart for Suffering People

The compassion of Jesus should be our posture in the face of vulnerability. His example teaches us to carry the weight of suffering to the throne of God.



Have you ever been informed you were being too vulnerable? Or maybe you’re too much. Alternatively, I would wager we’ve all been in a situation where we have felt uncomfortable with someone falling apart at our feet. Why is that?

This scenario played out in my mind a few mornings ago…

A woman was weeping in front of someone she trusted. She bore her soul. The trusted party uncomfortably responded with “I’m sorry, but you’re being too vulnerable.” The weeping woman countered, “Am I being too vulnerable, or are you uncomfortable with my vulnerability?” Because that’s the question, friends. What does make some of us so uncomfortable with vulnerability?

The compassion of Jesus should be our posture in the face of vulnerability. His example teaches us to carry the weight of suffering to the throne of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Sentiments

When I am tempted to critique someone else, I ask a few questions first. For example, when I think, “Why would they respond like that?” I ask, Well, why should they not? Does their vulnerability really affect me in a negative way? What if I were in that position? Would my reaction be similar to theirs?

In asking myself these questions I move into a position of empathy as opposed to that of a judge. And if I am uncomfortable with the depth of someone’s heartache, for instance, that doesn’t make their grief excessive. It indicates a lack of compassion in my heart.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly been reading through the gospel of John. I must mention how greatly encouraged I am. The fact that, more than once, people sought to arrest Jesus but no one detained or laid a hand on him, “because his hour had not yet come” (John 7:30). Everything happens in the perfect timing of the King!

Then a couple of days ago I read John 11: the story of Lazarus. The chapter begins by giving the backstory. Lazarus is the brother of Mary and Martha. (Mary is the famous lady who doused Jesus’ feet with her expensive perfume in the following chapter.) So, the sisters sent word to Jesus that their brother was seriously ill.

But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

John 11:4-6

Engaging

AGH! I love this. First, Jesus, being one with the Father, knew Lazarus’ illness would not lead to him staying dead but would be the precursor to God revealing His awesomeness. Second, John penned the intimate detail that Jesus loved these three siblings. And third, when Jesus heard Lazarus was about to die, his response was to hang out where He was for another two days. WHAT?! Classic. Isn’t that how it always seems to be? Our King waits past the point when we think He should show up. Then when He does, He knocks our socks off. Wait for it…

A couple of days go by then Jesus said it was time to go to Judea. He told the disciples Lazarus had fallen asleep, but He was going to wake him up. Judea was dangerous territory for Jesus because the Jews there wanted to stone Him.

The disciples tried to persuade Jesus away from going. They reasoned, if Lazarus was only sleeping, he would recuperate. At that point, Jesus bluntly told the disciples Lazarus was actually dead. When Jesus and the disciples arrived at Bethany in Judea, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Martha heard Jesus was coming so she went out to meet Him.

Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

John 11:21-23 [emphasis mine]

Responses

At first, it seems like Martha was accusing Jesus of not showing up. But in actuality, she acknowledged her thorough trust in God’s ability to raise her brother from the dead. Martha’s confidence affirmed the level of intimacy their family shared with Jesus like John said (John 11:5). She completely banked on Jesus being able to accomplish what concerned her. She knew Jesus could have healed Lazarus before he died. Yet now that he was already buried, she also trusted Lazarus would be raised again in the resurrection at the end of time.

After listening to the vulnerability in Martha’s faith-filled plea, Jesus immediately assured her that Lazarus would be back. Not fully understanding, Martha thought He meant in the end times. Then she went to tell Mary Jesus was asking for her.

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.

John 11:32-33

Compassion

Jesus wasn’t annoyed with Mary’s dramatics. Her grief didn’t cause Him to withdraw or cringe. He knew God was going to bring Lazarus back to life that very day. Yet Mary’s weeping had an emotional impact on Jesus. He both knew the outcome and was able to be present with His grieving friend. Jesus had all the answers, but He was still deeply affected by Mary’s agonizing sorrow.

And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’

John 11:34-36

Our Savior wept, shaken up by the mourning of His friend. Mary’s vulnerability wasn’t too much for Him. Jesus drew near. He was distraught for her. The tears He cried weren’t quiet, gentle, or composed. The King of Kings ugly cried. And, He sprung into action. When I read this passage, my eyes fixed on Jesus wept.

I cried.

Vulnerability

My emotions sprung from gratitude that I belong to a gracious Savior who draws near. I also cried for the desire to be the kind of person people can fall apart to without feeling hopeless. I want to engage, believing with confidence that my God has got it. Jesus was totally affected by Mary’s sorrow, but he wasn’t overwhelmed by it. Why? Because He knew His Father’s power. God has that same power today.

Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth.

John 11:40-44a

The Story’s End

Jesus knew the end of the story all along. He wept anyway. We rarely know the outcome, if ever; but regardless, let us be moved with compassion when people show vulnerability. Then we can carry any weight of sorrow to the throne of God.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

We rarely know the outcome of the story; but regardless, let us be moved with compassion when people show vulnerability. We can carry any weight of sorrow to the throne of God. Click To Tweet

The compassion of Jesus should be our posture in the face of vulnerability. His example teaches us to carry the weight of suffering to the throne of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture from the ESV Bible.