Ill Tempered

When Christians talk with me about particular sins or problems they experience, being impatient, ill-tempered, or grouchy is usually the most common problem they face. Actually, most Christians talk about being impatient, but their family members talk about their being grouchy and filled with anger, resentment, and ill-temper.

Over 100 years ago, a pastor by the name of Henry Drummond wrote a little pamphlet entitled, The Greatest Thing in the World.  The pamphlet contained an exposition of 1 Corinthians 13. 1 Corinthians 13 is called “The Love Chapter” and is read often at weddings, particularly the part that describes what love is and what love is not: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 113:4-5).

Notice the part that describes love as not being rude or easily angered (even among the closest of relationships). Real love (agape in the Greek New Testament) is patient and kind.

Henry Drummond noted that ill temper is the vice of the virtuous. “It is often the one blot on an otherwise noble character. You know men who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or ‘touchy’ disposition. This compatibility of ill temper with high moral character is one of the strangest and saddest problems of ethics. . . .No form of vice . . .does more to unChristianize society than evil temper.”

How do we move beyond our frustration, impatience, and ill-temper?

First, admit your problem to God and call it what it is–sin against a holy God. Unless you face up to the problem, you will never find release.

Second, renounce the sin with genuine repentance. You will know when repentance is genuine. Real repentance produces horror and repulsion when you fall into the old sinful pattern.

Third, begin each day by asking God to produce what you need for that day. For example, ask for God’s patience. Don’t ask not to be impatient. Praying positively is essential.

Finally, thank God in advance for the victory. Ask God to make this answered prayer evident in you and to others.

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3 Comments


  1. Ed Matthew
    Jun 12, 2012

    These are wonderful directions! Would you agree they are not to be confused with being happy with someone who intentionally mislead or used deception to take from another, especially a weaker brother or sister? Would such bad behavior suggest that the person who does such a thing is NOT a brother or sister in Christ? Have you seen those, who have become established, resort to any means to protect their social position when discovered? Does World Com and Enron ring a bell? Would you agree that your directions are not to be confused with a perverting of Scripture for self gain? Life gives us many examples of provokers covertly and sometimes overtly pressing until there is a response: in order to give them the opportunity to use Scripture as a weapon. This gives the ‘power broker’ an opportunity to redress the stage and direct the attention. Did not our Christ experience this methodology many times by the “People of God” who held the perceived moral high ground of their time? Did not our Lord express frustration with those closest to Him? Our historical context gives us an appreciation in recognition of His Purpose. It is not the kind of context that is gained from just reading the verse before and after and expression of His ire.

    Children see what is going on behind the formal curtain. They see both sides and grow with hardening hearts. Therefore, generation after generation falls away from the Truth because it is replaced with the lordship of self more often than not, unfortunately for this world. It is His imperative: Guard your heart with Truth!

    Consequently, while I agree with your point and direction, I am sure you would argue for context and identity of purpose to set the stage for administration of discernment in the Holy Spirit. He has already done this: identify and separate the wheat from the tares. Like-mindedness is work and commitment by more than a few, as you have proved.

    Thank God for the Apostle Paul, who shared his frustration, being able to write such words to give us a glimpse of so great a Love extended to us to employ; thus illustrating our position and reminding us that He still offers “who-so-ever” Hope. Hope to employ His Method in His Design; here, as it is in Heaven. AMEN.

    Thank you for your leadership. I pray for followers as the leader can only point the direction and set the tone. I thank God in every remembrance of you.


  2. Marlaine Peachey
    Jun 12, 2012

    Thanks! This falls right in line with our bible study at City Hall today! I am going to share it with the class. God is so good.
    Marlaine


  3. Jean Galbraith
    Jun 12, 2012

    WELL! O.K.
    Ever so often I read something that hits me right where I live. This is one of them.
    I have copied it into my personal files so that I can review it regularly.
    Yes, I am following your advice.
    Thanks.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. — James 4:10 (NIV)