I tried to begin my Sunday morning routine of praying for pastor friends, but couldn’t because my anger toward them flamed hot… and I couldn’t figure out why!
Every thought became full of rage and animosity. It didn’t matter if I thought of my family… people I knew from years past… or people I know now. Truth be told my emotions pushed close to hatred… and I couldn’t discern why I woke up with such in my heart! I had not experienced that much hostility many many years. After about an hour of fighting it, I asked a few people to pray for me because I knew one thing… I could not get up in front of God’s people and proclaim His Word with anger in my heart! Anger and preaching don’t mix.
Eventually I did the only thing I could do… I turned to God… in the Psalms… in particular Psalm 42… beginning in verse 5…
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation 6 and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember You… 8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?” 11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
It is over now, but yesterday scared me in that my emotions could spiral so out of control so quickly. That I could think such things spontaneously without any discernible reason! What is written in Jer 17:9 is indeed true of all of us, “The heart is wicked above all things and no man can know it.” For reasons I’m still working through, I identify better today with Romans 7:14…
I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.