Video games are designed for players to overcome levels. Which means you must be successful in clearing one level at a time in order to advance to the next; if you fail a level, you have to go back and try again.
To be honest, I’m not really into playing games such as Angry Birds, but I do believe in moving to the next level when it comes to our “angry words,” and that is rising to a higher level of spiritual maturity. The Bible gives us a bird’s eye view of this subject in 2 Corinthians 3:18 where Paul writes, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”
From “glory to glory” indicates moving from one level of maturity to the next. It reminds me of the old Gospel song that says:
I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Is There Good Anger?
As we mature, we learn to manage our anger, but that doesn’t mean eradicating it. There is good anger. There is righteous indignation.
The prophets of the Old Testament frequently thundered their message with righteous indignation. The apostle Paul passionately conveyed anger when needed. (See Galatians.) And the Bible’s supreme example of divine anger is the personality of Jesus of Nazareth. We see Him tenderly holding children on His lap and blessing them, while also robustly driving moneychangers from the temple and denouncing the scribes and Pharisees.
Something would be profoundly wrong if we never became angry when confronted by the evil in this world. Henry Ward Beecher once said, “A man that does not know how to be angry does not know how to be good.”
All Anger Is Dangerous
But beware! How we handle our anger tells us if we’ve cleared or failed our current level of spiritual maturity. The Bible tells us to “be angry, and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).
Watchman Nee warned, “Anger is one of the most crude of human feelings. But the Bible does not prohibit us to be angry, because some types of anger are not related to sin. The Bible says, ‘Be angry but sin not.’ Nonetheless, anger of any kind is so strong that it nearly always borders on sin. We do not find a verse in God’s Word charging us to ‘love but sin not’ or ‘be meek but sin not.’ Why? Because love and meekness are far removed from sin. But anger is close to the vicinity of sin.”1
Or as Aristotle put it, “Anyone can become angry—that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way…that is not easy.”
Using Our Tempers, Not Losing Our Tempers
The key is in using our tempers, not losing them. We sometimes say that someone has a temper, when we mean just the opposite. Temper is a good thing. It means that our personalities have flex and tone. It’s when we lose our tempers that we have problems.
Righteous anger isn’t expressed in shouting or screaming, but in acting to correct a wrong, to rebuke a fault, or to reverse a decision or direction. It’s not pursued with bitterness but with biblical conviction. It’s not self-righteous but Christ-centered. It’s not vindictive but valiant. The Bible is clear, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
We should become angry when it’s appropriate, for that’s a godly response to evil. But we must always be careful not to lose our tempers in the process. We arrive at a new level of spiritual maturity when we discover how to channel our honest, spiritual, righteous anger in a way that reflects the strength and stability of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If we’re known for losing our tempers, we’re not engaging in righteous anger. Let’s be wise, listening to the whole counsel of God. This is the way to keep clearing the levels of spiritual maturity, from “glory to glory.”
David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
1 Watchman Nee, The Release of the Spirit (NY: Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc., 2000), 32.
In Dr. Jeremiah’s latest prophecy book, The Great Disappearance: 31 Ways to be Rapture Ready, he examines the next event on God’s prophetic timetable, the Rapture. This is not a book of doom and gloom or a sensational read about setting dates, but one of hope and joy as we see the promise of God’s plan unfold all around us and grasp the power of the prophetic text surrounding the Rapture. Calling this “prophecy motivation,” these 31 easy-to-read short chapters will inspire you to live boldly and expectantly in today’s world.