fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Leave Room for God’s Wrath


Anger Leave Room for God’s Wrath by Julie McAllen

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.  24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. (Ro 1:18-25)

God’s wrath. How is it that God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven? This thought kept going through me as I read Romans chapter one: People KNOW when they’re sinning, The Spirit does the teaching and convicting. Yet we burn with rage against those who sin against us and want to reveal our own wrath. We feel like such victims when treated so casually. We’re angered that we have to work so hard at forgiving and putting up with one another as the Bible instructs us to do. It can even make us upset with God for teaching us to “turn the other cheek” when we feel some of our wrath would work better. But Romans reminds us that God’s wrath is already being revealed. Sinners are convicted in their own time. God is all around in the creation and has made Himself known. And it is GOD, yes, GOD HIMSELF who “gives them over in the sinful desires of their hearts.” God allows us all our time of sinful rebellion. We all were once enemies of God. And yet, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Ro 5:8).

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? (Ro 2:1-4)

It is so easy to judge the sin of others and feel our rage claiming “but they know better! Why are they so vile toward me? So rude?” We must leave it in God’s hands. His hand is upon them, why should we accuse, blame, and judge? He knows, and He is the one who “gave them over” to pursue the desires of the flesh. Did someone else’s anger, judgment or accusations bring you to your senses? More likely God called you out by His grace, love and kindness. Romans 2:1-4, then speaks to us. Therefore, you have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else.

And what does our wrath and judgment say about our attitude toward God’s grace? “Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

God’s KINDNESS led you to repentance. Do you trust HIM enough to lead others?

18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
(Ro 12:18-20)

Satan is the accuser of our brothers (Rev 12:10). We know who accuses us day and night for our own sins, and we know who gets others to join him in accusing us. Therefore, we have no place accusing others. To do so is siding with our sinful nature. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9) We learn the sufferings of Christ in leaving room for God’s wrath.

Look at Our LORD! He submitted even to death on a cross. He was spat at and insulted, beaten and nailed, left to die. And he prays “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” How far from perfection we are!!! It is much easier to give in to our own wrath and side with the accuser who does not want God’s kindness to lead God’s enemies to repentance. Knowing this, Satan uses US as accusers who feel enraged at those who sin against us. Yet Jesus taught us to pray, “Father, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Prayer is our weapon and our challenge. Prayer is Spiritual. Therefore, it is no wonder our flesh battles it and would prefer to work it out in our rage or our feelings of self-pity in being the victim. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7)!!! In humility we pray, Father, forgive those who know not what they do! Father, we are your servants. We will walk through this valley knowing you are at our side. We are willing to do so and we are able to do so in your strength. Empower us and conform us into the likeness of your Son. In the name and strength of Jesus, amen.

Pray that God will convict your enemies. Cease from your own wrath. When God’s hand is upon them, they spit at Jesus, not you. They mock Jesus, not you. Trust in God to work all things out. Meanwhile, bless His Holy Name for allowing people in your life who challenge your ability to love as He loves. ” But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matt 5:44-45) Remember how He kept Pharaoh in existence to show His own power and glory? He may be keeping this person in your life to show His power made perfect in you as He strengthens you to do His will and not your own. Let us try to live at peace with those who persecute us and leave room for God’s wrath, not our own.

In the Old Testament, the prophets did proclaim judgment and wrath was physically administered, but now the weapons of warfare are spiritual. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:3-5)  In prayer, we bring every sin before Him and leave it there. And while we’re there at the cross, we bring the sins of our people knowing that Christ died forgiving them “while they were yet sinners.” He sees their sins, we pray for the Spirit’s conviction in them and we allow God to bring it about–even as they continue in their sins.

Discouragement and anger toward our neighbor is nothing new. Christian’s are not immune to these feelings. But God’s made provision for us to overcome the world and find encouragement in being united with Christ.

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Phil 2:1-11)

We look to Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith and what do we see? The wrathful God pointing fingers? The victim who spent his time saying “why me?” He had both those rights to claim and yet, he humbly served, took the beatings, and while dying undeservedly PRAYED for his enemies. How far from perfection we are!!! But we live in hope and continue to pray that God conform us into the likeness of His Son. That is the whole REASON He saved us. We are a new creation, we don’t need to go back to the world’s way of accusing, repaying evil for evil, or feeling victimized. We trust in God and leave room for His wrath.

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

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August 29, 2009 - Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , ,

2 Comments

  1. Thanks, Julie for this post. I needed to read these words. Yes, it’s hard to forgive when you’ve been hurt by those who you believed would never hurt you, but I know it’s not our place to show wrath. But I sometimes wonder how long we have to endure the hurt before God steps in and relieves us?

    Comment by Linda | August 29, 2009

  2. I struggled with these verses. Yes, I have forgiven one who betrayed me after 32 years. The betrayal began a short time after our marriage. Because of children and grandchildren I still have to be in contact. This means a continuation of manipulation and betrayal when I let him in. Many of my Christian friends and family members tell me I should stay away from him as much as possible. It’s not possible to do that and have normal family relationships. However, I feel that I am put down, manipulated, and humiliated much of the time. Sometimes, it seems like I haven’t moved on enough, and he still has a strong pull on me.

    These verses seemed to say that I should just allow this to happen, but I’m not sure.

    Comment by Willie | August 30, 2009


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