This week, I am focusing on the Respectable Sin of Self-Control. In my last post, I dealt with self-control with our eating and drinking. In this post, temper will be the main subject.
Let’s start by painting a quick picture of a person with a hot temper:
A person with a hot temper tends to be one who has quick but intense bursts of anger often followed by a calm disposition. They tend to become easily angry or irritable, and they exercise little or no control over their emotions.
What is often the cause of these outbursts of anger and who are they directed towards?
Outbursts of anger are usually directed against anyone who displeases us. A driver on the highway who cuts us off. An umpire who makes a bad call. A family member who challenges us. A dog who constantly play bites when play time is over. These all can cause outbursts of anger, as well as they are the ones’ the anger is typically directed towards.
What does Scripture have to say?
Scripture has a number of warnings about those who are quick tempered. Let’s look at some of those:
“A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.” (Pr 14:17)
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Pr 16:32)
“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” (Pr 17:27)
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas 1:19-21)
So we see that a quick tempered person is quick to speak. His words are not carefully consider. Rather he speaks foolishly. He is not wise. And he does not produce the righteousness of God. Not a great list of qualities.
How do we rid ourselves of our temper?
We have to put away all filthiness (moral uncleanliness) and rampant (something spreading unchecked) wickedness. We do that by allowing the word of the gospel implanted in us to convict and teach us. After which we must exercise self-control with our temper, which we can only do through the power of the gospel.
Questions for Reflection
- Can you think of a time when you spoke too quickly because of your quick temper? What was the result?
- Can you think of any Scripture you would point others to who are dealing with a lack of self-control in regard to temper?
- When do you notice your temper flaring?
 Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 112
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