April 26, 2021 | Megan Schemenauer
The car driving 50 miles per hour down the highway in the left-hand lane. The chatty person in the grocery line in front of you when you just want to buy your milk and eggs and get home. The last-minute email request from your employer at 4:55pm on a Friday. What are the day-to-day irritants that set off your temper?
The word “temper” may seem like a dirty word, but it doesn’t have to be. As Christians, we actually go through what could be considered a tempering process. Merriam-Webster defines the verb “to temper” as to dilute, qualify or soften by the addition of influence of something else. Our softening influence? The Holy Spirit. This journey of spiritual growth begins with salvation and ends … well, to be honest, not until we get to Heaven.
Dealing with our tempers and trying to grow our patience here on Earth, however, can get a little frustrating at times. In a less-than-perfect world, there is no shortage of opportunities to try our patience: fighting kids, burnt dinners, pet accidents, a rude relative, a sloppy spouse. One thing is for sure: I am so thankful that God’s patience level isn’t set to match my own! The Bible tells us on multiple occasions that our Heavenly Father is abundantly patient: “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Ps. 145:8; also Ps. 103:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2).
As His child who is attempting to grow more like my Father, I should also be striving daily to control my temper and increase my patience. Not an easy task. When your quick temper begins to discourage you along your path to patience, it’s helpful to remember that you’re not alone: Cain killed his younger brother Abel (Gen. 4:8). Moses smashed the ten commandments God had just given him to pieces (Exod. 32:19). King Saul threw a spear at his own son (1 Sam. 20:33). And James and John were ready to rain down fire from heaven on an entire town (Luke 9:54).
As much as your quick temper may frustrate you, believe it or not, our strong emotions are a gift from God. They allow us to experience and enjoy life abundantly. As Pastor Pope remarked in a recent Weekend Celebration, our God is an emotional God. And since we are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27), it’s only natural for us to experience strong emotions at times as well. Strong emotions are not sinful; it’s what we do with those emotions that can be.
Fortunately, God has gifted us with not only strong emotions but also the ability to control them. Before Christ left this Earth, He gave the disciples a promise of an Advocate, a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, “to help you and be with you forever … ” (John 14:16). Part of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives is to help guide us through those day-to-day irritants, to teach us how to respond to every situation in life in a godly way. It is by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit that we begin to grow the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).
The next time you face a frustrating situation and feel your temperature beginning to rise, pause. Rather than impulsively responding, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your next word or action. Put this practical action plan in place every single day, each time you face frustration, as a way to allow Him to continue to temper your temper and slough off the rough edges to make you a little more like Christ each day.
This post was written by a group of volunteer writers who strive to share God's truth through an online platform, but may not reflect the views of The Vineyard Church as a whole. To learn how you can get involved, email us at .