Our worship leader does it every Sunday.
Before the final song - he pauses the chords and quiets the lyrics and he commissions the congregation to ask the Spirit ...
... to bring to mind anything that is keeping us from God, from worship, from knowing Him.
And there's a hush that settles over the people and we all lift up this same concern together.
And often times....in those moments....I feel like the Lord actually plasters something to my mind that is either keeping me in stagnate waters...or that is rushing me away from Him in some rip currant.
This past Sunday?
ANGER...all bold and pronounced showed up in my mind's eye.
And for me...this isn't a surprise.
It seems as if I was born with a few short fuses. I don't get tiffy at most things. But when it comes to certain issues and certain people - I can fly into a fit in seconds.
But as I prayed over it on Sunday - I felt that the issue was two
fold. I felt like the Lord was confronting me on anger, yes - but in two
1) Anger.... that is unjust
2) Anger..... that is for carrying out justice.
What's interesting about anger - is that anger in and of itself isn't wrong. It's an emotion we see throughout scripture, actually. It's an emotion we see Jesus having at times. But...
...like the mind of a woman....while it is a gift and while it can be used for great good....it can also spin a life right into a sick spiral.
I know. I've spun angry more than I care to admit.
However...I'm beginning to think that there is a way to righteously hone the hot sparklers that live in some of our bones.....
When we hear about the sex slave industry that is happening right here in our own cities - we should be highly ticked. When we find out about a child being abused - we should be enraged. When we see God's gifts being used for self-exaltation - or tithe money used for gross excess - or people, children, babies starving to death - or lost souls being hated on by people who claim to know Christ - or our earth being treated as a trash dump - or fathers refusing to rise up and be the spiritual leaders of the home....we should be deeply aggravated....seriously angry.
Not rage angry....but righteously angry.
Remember though...as we all know...when anger is applied to petty frustrations...when it is seen in unwarranted situations...when it escalates to no end...when it becomes a dominate trait...when it's the farthest thing from fruitful....this is devastating.
So I've been pondering all this..... All this holy anger and evil anger and how to know when to apply the former and how to know how to extinguish the latter. Lord, help us.
Those of us who are a bit feisty - perhaps we are allowed to really feel injustice. Perhaps these quick tempers, when rightly applied, are put in place to spur people to action. To passion. To standing. To doing.To carrying out rescue and relief.
But oh...if we are not purposed in this...if we aren't on guard and constantly handing these hot heads over to Him...the enemy can secure a foothold in our lives - effecting generations.
But know....if we are intentional in this....if we daily lift up these firecracker tendencies to a holy God...this Maker of ours can weave a whole lot of goodness throughout our days here.
Lord, help us to act and not just get angry. Help us to not just sit around shaking our heads at all that's wrong - but instead - help us to be shaken to action.
May He grow in us the tendencies He wants us to keep...and may He drive the wicked ones right out of us - all for His glory...and also for our very own good.