NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Ephesians 4:31-32
Discussion Questions: Why do people tend to hold on to anger instead of releasing it? What excuses to justify anger have you used or heard?
Food for Thought by Dwayne McCrary:
The apostle Paul challenged the Ephesians to “put away” their anger (Ephesians 4:31). In the Greek, this phrase literally means to strip away or to lift up and toss away. In other words, the Bible commands that we remove anger from our hearts.
If Paul didn’t mean that you actually could “put it away,” he would never have encouraged the church to do that. You can do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have the power to lay it down.
Now, there are some other things you still have to deal with. Putting away anger is not the end of the issue, but is a major part. You put it down. Get rid of it.
In an interesting contrast, Paul told the church in Colossae to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Paul made a very clear distinction between which emotions we need to “put on” and which we need to “put away.”
Do you really want all that God desires to give you? If so, ask Him to remove any obstacles that stand in your way. One of those obstacles may be deep-seated anger.
Some anger is so deep that only the grace of God can heal it. The anger has been there for so long and has become such a part of daily life that the person cannot possibly free himself. The good news is that no degree of anger is beyond God’s reach. Ask the Lord to prune any anger from your heart.
Years ago, I came upon a sentence that changed my life. The author, whose name I have long since forgotten, wrote: “The size of a man’s anger is the measure of that man.”
The moment I read that statement, I determined I would not be ruled by anger. That does not mean I, or any other person, can become immune to anger. What it means is that I’ve set my will toward living free from ungodly anger. And I’m trusting God daily to set me free from the bondage of bitterness and resentment. I know that’s the only way I can be all God desires for me to be.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at LifeWay.com/MasterWork.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.
Dwayne McCrary is a team leader for Explore the Bible and can be followed on twitter @gdwayne.