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Religion is a construct of the human soul, but true spirituality comes from God and is anchored in honoring what He honors. Every day of our life, we choose whether we will be guided by man’s wisdom or God’s. As basic and simple as this is, it offers us a series of decisions which produce a series of results. Those results reflect what created them and give us a picture of our lives. “Success” is the ultimate measurement of who we are; does our man-centered life give us what we want, or are the rewards of man-centeredness leaving us still hungry when measured against God’s revealed laws and principles?
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.—Proverbs 16:32
The above quote out of Proverbs is but one quote among multitudes that undergird this concept. In God, self-controlled responses are to be valued beyond being mighty or powerful. In God, power under control is the only true power. Power over others or even circumstances means nothing if we do not have power over ourselves and over our responses, whatever the circumstances. If this sounds too abstract or unrealistic, then either my ability to communicate this foundational truth is insufficient, or the listener may be still not converted.
Moses was noted as one of the meekest men in Israel (Numbers 12:3). As God’s model protégé, he was expected to control his anger, but losing control and disobeying God cost him his personal entry into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:2-12). Our impassioned responses, when inappropriate, have cost all of us more than we may know. God honors self-control as a very high and valuable character quality.
While sin or immature actions create most of the situations which provoke us to anger, God does allow us all an abundance of situations in our lives that test us, often arousing misdirected anger that is without moral focus or released out of selfish wrath. In our current day and social context, everyone is being powerfully encouraged to “have a voice” and “speak your truth.” That should not surprise us since, in several ways, it aligns itself with all the other acts of “freedom” and “self-expression” our anti-Christ culture champions. Telling our “truth” may have truth in it, but it will certainly have our subjective point of view—good, bad, or ugly. Beyond that, human anger and the demeaning of others has never in our culture enjoyed such enthusiastic approval as it now does. Many blame our President for this; I do not know how much of this is generated by him or if it is that he reflects a culture that freely calls women words like “b*tches” and “wh*res” for millions in revenue. As always, there is ample blame to go around.
I assume those on my mailing list are clear that the social government of a nation is merely an amplified picture of the self-government of its collective citizens. Freedom or bondage begins inside you and me. The freedom Jesus offers us is the freedom to embrace truth against ourselves, and therein is the hard edge which measures how free we truly are. In this day of insults and bombastic and libelous confrontation, the quiet voices are seemingly seldom heard. Eventually they will be, because if holding our peace is a better measurement of true power than our ability to “capture a city” (Proverbs 16:32), sooner or later those quiet voices will emerge to run our cities. They will be promoted by the God of circumstance who honors power under control. And that is…