I struggled somewhat with seeking to end the year with a lesson that can help us all reflect on our own personal journey’s with Christian maturity. After some thought, I considered the question which is the title for today’s article, “What has the Lord taught you that has been the most transformative in your life?” Of course, the list could be plentiful, and I encourage you to consider what your answer may be. For me, the answer is very easy, and it has to do with what was once a wrecking ball in my life. It is anger. The only reason this comes to mind is because I heard the following quote from Mark Twain in a recent speech, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking
be put away from you, with all malice.
Some of you chuckled last week when I spoke of my personal flaws, that in times past especially, have hindered me and others to grow and one of those flaws was my issue with anger. I can say without hesitation today, that unbridled anger has no place in the Christian’s life, but I walked with it for years as the Lord worked so patiently and purposely in my life (and He still is in this area). My anger has often been displayed with words that bite and injure, wanting others to feel the inner pain that fed that anger. I think of Proverbs 10:19, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” That verse is etched in my mind, along with Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Although growth in any area of life really never ends, I am grateful to the Lord for the changes that have been made and hope for His help in continued growth.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies,
kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another…
You may think it odd to close out this year with the focus on something like this: but truth be told, the journey forward is dictated in part by our ability to see where God has already brought us. These character traits listed by Paul in the above verse, reveal to us that growth will never be stagnant; that is, as long as God’s objectives are ever before us. Each of the words listed by the Holy Spirit, quickly remind us that Christian growth is no easy task. It takes work to “put away” things which God so patiently wants gone and equally so, to “put on” those things that best reflect who He is in our lives; that is, that He is our Lord and Savior.
As we journey, we can take comfort and direction from these simple, yet life changing words. I believe what follows is part of the core of Christian growth: “…even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:13). May we grasp and experience the depth of His forgiveness daily and may it empower us to grow spiritually and as we do, offer that same forgiveness to those around us, especially those who walk with us towards our heavenly home.