for before certain men came from james, he was eating with the gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. and the rest of the jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. [galatians 2:12-13]
yesterday we focused on the aspect of fear, but today we will focus on the expression of anger. (if you did not read the devotional from yesterday, it is highly recommended that you look over it! it provides context for the verses and lays the foundation for today’s devotional)
in our culture, anger is only accepted when it is used as a means to provoke sympathy. do you use your anger to get your way or to point others to God? how can you tell if your anger is just or unjust?
|just anger||unjust anger|
|· points others to God
· brought about in a respectful manner
· activates change
· holds self and others accountable
|· points others to legalism
· blows up at others or silently builds up resentment
· activates reactions
· seeks to be “right” in the eyes of others
paul exemplifies anger that is just. either we can choose fear that causes separation, or we can choose to address issues with love and grace like paul did. however, this the story is not about peter and barnabas cowering in fear, the threats of those who came from the church in jerusalem, or about paul and his loving confrontation. rather, it is about a God who gives his children an opportunity to draw in close to him and to repent of sin! God knew peter and barnabas would betray him in this way, yet he still chose to love them. God knew paul would stand up for him and the result of paul’s efforts are life and freedom from legalistic religion.
today, will you choose to cower in fear to the threat of man or will lovingly address what God has put on your heart?
philippians 1:27- 29- only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether i come and see you or am absent, i may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. this is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. for it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.
~ angela younger