The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 NIV
Quite a list, wouldn’t you agree? If your desire is to live the higher life, kingdom living, then you must progressively die to the flesh and live according to the Spirit.
But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Colossians 3:8 NLT
Let’s discuss rage, that jet-fast boil of emotion that has a cause and effect. When Herod was tricked by the wise men after the birth of Christ, scripture tells us he was enraged. If that was the cause, what was the effect? He had all the Hebrew boys under two years old slaughtered. Rage opens the door to murder, most often in your heart.
On another occasion Jesus declared Himself the fulfillment of scripture in a synagogue full of Jewish people. They became enraged, drove Him out of town and attempted to push Him over a cliff. Cause and effect.
Interestingly, the two Greek words for this emotion mean to ‘kill the soul’. That’s what rage does: kills your heart, your mind, and your life. Controlling your temper is part of kingdom living, if you don’t control it, it will control you. So, where to begin?
Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. Colossians 3:9-10 NLT
The indwelling Holy Spirit gives you the power to reject those feelings of fiery passion and rage, eliminate them, and teaches you how to live in peace. It looks different for everyone but one thing is required … you ask Him. Repent of the rage and receive His forgiveness by telling yourself, and God, the truth. Move on, renewing your mind with scripture, prayer, and strategies for dealing with those fits.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:17, 22-24 ESV
Those two opponents, flesh and Spirit, will always be in the ring battling each other, however, the key is to be empowered by the greatest force in the world: the Holy Spirit. He is your ticket to the higher life: kingdom living, God’s best for His children.