Fearful? Watch Out for Anger!

Dr. Lucy Ann MollFor Those Seeking Hope4 Comments

Fearful? Anger may get you too.

Have you felt anxious when suddenly something inside you just snapped? Fear morphs into anger and you feel even worse.

If you let yourself slide into self-pity, which is a sneaky face of anger, you may begin calling yourself “a waste of space.” If you let your anger turn to outwardly directly rage, don’t freak when the police show up.

Friends, your fear-turned-anger emotion results from ungodly desire of your heart. A desire, according to James 4:2, is a cause of quarrels and fights.

You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

We become fearful about our desires when we believe the desire is in jeopardy. We become tense thinking we won’t get what we want, that our imagined pleasure might fly away like dandelion fluff.

Martha’s Temper Tantrum

Take, for instance, Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. Let’s read the passage:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42, ESV)

Martha is busying herself putting on a spread for Jesus, and Mary is seated at His feet, listening to him. It seems that Martha has two desires:

  1. Make a fabulous feast for her Lord.
  2. Sit at Jesus’ feet too.

Jesus identifies her anxious state. Did you catch that?

Martha’s two desires are in competition, causing her to “snap” and complain to Jesus. Jesus sets her straight, gently pointing out that the desire to sit at His feet is what is really important and that Mary has chosen what is best.

Scripture is silent on what Martha did next. We can imagine what could have happened if she chose wrongly.

If she determined that feeding Jesus was most important, she’d return to the kitchen, probably muttering to herself about how Jesus failed to understand her predicament. She might have complain to herself – and clang a few pans — that she doesn’t have help to finish the food preparation. Worse of all, her now enemy (Mary) still gets to do what she wants to do.

Can’t you just see the steam coming out of her ears!?

You and I Get Bitter Too

Isn’t this fear-turned-anger response typical of us? We tend to choose the wrong desire, become afraid we won’t get what we want, and end up bitter.

Jesus gave Martha the answer to her problem, which was to choose the better thing not the bitter thing. You and I need to remember that when the desires of our heart compete with the desires of God, the wise choice is this: subject our desires to His authority and obey Him no matter how we feel.

This is easy to say and tough to do until it becomes a godly habit.

Do you need help establishing godly habits so you no longer live in the grips of fear and anger? Schedule an appointment with one of our biblical counselors today

photo credit: TarikB via photopin cc


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4 Comments on “Fearful? Watch Out for Anger!”

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