If you struggle with anger, there’s hope for you – believers in Jesus Christ can change!

My last 3 posts have been on being slow to anger. Anger is explosive and feels uncontrollable. But we can be slow to anger. God says we can rule our spirit:

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

Before Jesus saves us, we’re all slaves of sin. Controlled and dominated by sin, we cannot escape its enslaving power. But Jesus breaks sin’s enslaving power, and gives us the Holy Spirit who fills us with the very strength of God to overcome kill anger and rule that wild stallion of our spirit. And as we walk with Jesus, day after day, and year after year we grow in self-control. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Notice how many of the fruits of the Spirit would be the opposite of being quick to anger – love, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control.

We CAN control ourselves. We CAN be slow to anger. We do NOT HAVE to give in to rage or resentment even when someone wrongs us. When we’re tempted to explode we can come to the throne of grace and ask our great high priest for grace and help. If you do this, then you will find that the Lord not only empowers you to not get angry, but he will give you grace to love those who sin against you. I’m not saying it’s easy, but Jesus can give us all we need to rule our spirit.

This is good news, for being slow to anger leads to victories in our lives.

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty – this means if you are slow to anger you are better than a mighty warrior – if you rule your spirit you are better than he who takes a city – you’re better than a king or a general who leads a great army to conquer a city. In other words, you will have victories in your life. You will lead a spiritually victorious life. You will overcome many things that trip others up. You will conquer all the snares and pitfalls that anger leads to.

It’s better to rule your spirit than to be General Patton, or Alexander the Great. Do you want to have VICTORIES with your wife? VICTORIES with your roommate? VICTORIES with your children? VICTORIES with your professors in class? Be slow to anger. RULE YOUR SPIRIT!

When I was in college my parents gave me some great advice. NEVER smart off to a professor, no matter what that prof says to you. And I had an opportunity one day in my freshman design class as art major. The assignment was to do a 3D paper project. I did a large 3D housefly. I have to admit, it wasn’t that good. My prof, who was not known for being tactful, muttered something as he walked past my desk. I said, “Excuse me? I didn’t hear what you said.” So he said for the whole class to hear, “I said, ‘Do you have a match?’ because you should burn that thing.” I was shocked, humiliated. I felt the anger flush in my face. I might have said something like, “Well, I’ve seen your stuff and I’d say you should pick up a few matches yourself.” But I didn’t say anything. If I had, I’m sure the prof would have flunked me. As it turned out, I redid my project and later he wound up liking me and I got an A in the class.

Jesus is our ultimate example:

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:18-23)

Peter says, slaves, when you’re treated unjustly and suffer for doing good, the temptation is to become angry, to revile and threaten. But Jesus, who did nothing but good, was tried unjustly, beaten, mocked, scourged, and nailed to a cross. Yet he didn’t revile in return or threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. That’s the key when we’re sinned against – to keep entrusting ourselves to him who judges justly.

Entrust yourself to God, leave judgment to him, rein in that rage and resentment and be slow to anger.


Mark Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church. Find out more at The Blazing Center.