When I begin to share with someone all the wonderful things the Lord has done in my life, they are often shocked to hear my testimony of how the power and presence of the Lord has, and continues to set me free from a habitual, destructive, angry habit pattern.
“Phil,” they say, “I would have never have guessed that you had a problem with anger.” Well, I really did and that’s probably the case for most of us – in public we often put on that happy face and yet at home the war is raging, with our family members as the casualties.
There’s volumes of material out there both secular and Christian that deal with the subject of anger but in this short article I’d like to focus on some important Godly principles that helped me admit, own, overcome and redeem the negative effects of an angry lifestyle.
The first step to freedom came as I finally saw ….. I mean really recognized ….. the fear and helplessness in my family’s eyes as I raged over the selfish desires that I demanded to be met. At that defining and divine moment I finally admitted, after many years of dishing out emotional and verbal abuse, that my anger was a real problem and was destroying the relationships with those I was to love the most – my wife and kids.
I think we all know when we have an anger problem, I did, but instead of blaming everyone and everything else for my angry outbursts, I finally admitted and humbled myself before God and my family that I was out of control and needed help. I knew for a fact that the Godly sorrow talked about in 2 Cor. 7:10 was heavy on my heart. That led me to repent before God and my family and start the process of healing that we all so desperately needed.
My next step was to learn how to own my thoughts, speech and actions by examining them according to the truths of God’s word. I began to search the scriptures, attend Sunday School classes and read Christian books about anger and started to get a vision of the godly man I desired to be. Eph. 4:17-32, James 1:19-20, James 4:1-8, Rom 8:29, and Gal. 5:19-25 became my favorite passages and I would ask the Holy Spirit to help me put off the old and put on the new man by the renewing of my mind.
I then began to see some glimpses of success as I learned what it meant to be angry and sin not, to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath. I was determined to let every tense situation reveal to me my hearts’ condition and ask the Lord to help me be free of my pride, control, unrealistic expectations and selfishness. I sought counseling to help expose some of the roots of my anger and joined a Celebrate Recovery Anger Group to continue embracing God’s process of sanctification and conforming me into His image.
I’d like to say that this was a quick process, but it wasn’t. My family suffered much before and many times during my surrender and intentionality to overcome this stronghold. But I kept on keeping on, asking forgiveness from the Lord and my family every time I’d blow it. And, in in my repentance, I kept the vision of a Spirit filled life and bearing the fruit of the Spirit as my ultimate goal.
Have I achieved that goal you may ask? Well, I will always purpose to surrender, repent and be intentional to admit, to renew my mind and to own and examine my thoughts, speech and behavior according to the truth of God’s word. I will also be determined to trust the Holy Spirit as He helps me overcome and ask forgiveness when the old Phil rises from the dead. I’ll do my part and I know God is always faithful to do His.
What I’ve experienced through all this is God’s faithfulness. He’s fulfilled for me His glorious promise of who He is as our Savior, Healer, Deliverer and Redeemer. What a wonderful God we serve! My heart is full of thankfulness as He’s taken a screwed up, angry, selfish man and by His power and presence has, and continues to set me and my family free from the destructiveness of my angry habit pattern. Glory to God!!
How about you? Can you relate to this article? Are you and your family living in the destructiveness and stronghold of anger out of control? Are you tired of it and yet have no clue on how to change? Does it seem hopeless? Well, it’s not! I was one of those hopeless looking cases but as I’ve testified, God will do His part as you reach out to Him.
The question is, are you ready to finally surrender and be intentional to do your part? If so, begin to be a doer of the principles I’ve mentioned in this article. Do it by faith no matter how you are feeling. If you need some counseling, we can help with some in-house or local referrals by calling the CCF office during the day (903-882-8501). Take advantage of the Celebrate Recovery Program near CCF at The Church of Garden Valley (903-882-9150) on Monday nights at 7pm or other churches in the surrounding area by googling Celebrate Recovery Programs in your area.
My prayer is that those struggling with anger will take heed to this article and in that, experience the promise as I did in Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Much Love in Christ!