Friday, June 10, 2016

"Rage and Redemption"

Acts 26:9, 11 NASU

“So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth… 

And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.”

Anger is an effective drug. Uncontrolled negative emotion creates massive energy and the addict is consumed by its power. He feels no pain as he presses deeper and deeper into his false reality. With a dark sense of fulfillment, he masks guilt with the pleasure derived from his unrestrained expression of anger. He is dimly aware of the havoc his rage causes but easily justifies himself...
  • “I am doing the right thing”.
  • “They are wrong and deserve to be punished.”
  • “I am called by God to do punish wicked”.
Rage is destructive but the ‘rage-oholic’ can’t stop himself, especially when he claims divine authority. He is driven by a force greater than himself to coerce others by the strength of his personality. Nothing can stop him. Nothing, that is, except the Lord.

Paul, at the height of his fury, met Christ and everything changed. He was driven by a self-righteous anger and described in the Luke's account of the early church as “being furiously enraged”. For Paul, it took an extraordinary encounter with Jesus Christ before he could see himself for what he was… out of control.

Remarkably, God did not perform a spiritual lobotomy to cut out the ‘passion center’ of Paul’s brain. Rather, He miraculously redeemed it. The amazing reality is... Paul had the same personality before and after his encounter with Jesus! There was a difference, of course. Paul’s driven and forceful persona came under the control of the Holy Spirit and his passion was re-directed toward the way and purpose of Christ. This man was destined to become the inspirational powerhouse of the early church and the motivating force for the expansion of the kingdom of God into regions untouched by the Gospel. This was no job for a milk-toast. God needed a real man. A dynamo. Paul was that man.

I too must learn relinquish control of my negative emotions to Him who is able to redeem my passion and make become wholly zealous about His cause alone. I need not apologize for the force of my emotions but I must earnestly seek Christ’s grace to display them in a godly way. I pray to become a ‘fully redeemed and forceful man’... fully engaged in the forceful advancement of God’s kingdom on earth.

“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven
has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”
Jesus, Matthew 11.12 NIV
___________________

The sketch above is entitled "The Angry Man" and used by permission of Calcutta born artist Samita Basu whose amazing work you can view at http://www.samitabasu.com/. In the artist's own words: "This is a conte pencil drawing. I was intrigued by this elderly relative of mine because whenever I said something that he didn’t approve of, he would go into a sulk and he work himself into a kind of repressed anger. I noticed how his facial muscles changed when he was angry. This drawing doesn’t resemble the subject, only the expression".

4 comments:

Coach Will said...

Dave,
I too have found myself powerless to break an addiction. I have been so grateful for God's grace and power in my life, bringing me to freedom. Apart from God, I couldn't do it!

And there's another part. Without my daily commitment, God would be unable to do it either. Unable, since he has given me free reign to make my own choices.

What could be more fulfilling and empowering than partnering with God?! What a privilege! And yes, as you said, he doesn't remove our drive--he transforms it. As I am being transformed, I experience a passion to offer God's transforming power to others.

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Hi William,

Great insight, brother. Thank you for your comments. They encouraged me.

Your Friend,
Dave

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave It's Danny,

Boy this one is nail on the head for me today. I have been doing alot of thinking about my passed 2 years. I have alot to be thankful for today. I chose Jesus as my king now, following him makes life beautiful!!!!

Love you Bro
Danny McGregor

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Thanks Danny. It was good to hear from you.

Dave