Acts 17:11 Archives

Dealing With Anger Attacks

In response by Dean VanDruff to a request for advice and prayer concerning anger attacks.

I have never suffered from uncontrollable anger attacks, so I may not be the best counselor for you. But I figure all sin is basically the same, and I have suffered from uncontrollable lust attacks, and other such things. What works for the "controllable", then, obviously won't work for these areas where we get bowled over by a particular sin. Such is supernatural in nature, and takes a miracle of deliverance to overcome.

Four things come to mind.

  1. you have already done, and that is to confess the besetting sin to others so as to open up the opportunity to be healed. Sin thrives and grows in the dark, and can often quickly be dispelled by simply turning on the light.

    James 5:16 (NAS) Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed...

  2. is to seek prayer whenever this happens. Find someone who is walking in the power of Christ and see if simple and timely prayer won't help you find your spiritual legs in this.

    James 5:14-16b (NAS) Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him... The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

  3. is to look for any access points. We are told, in direct context, not to let the sun go down on our anger, and so give the devil a foothold.
    Eph 4:26-27 (NIV) "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

    This means you may have to spend a few sleepless nights wrestling this out. If so, remember that Jesus often did this, praying all night long in sweat and tears. (Lu 6:12, Hb 5:7-8) If this is what is needed to keep from sinning, then it is a small cost compared to the severity of what else Jesus suggested ("If your eye offends you, pluck it out", Mk 9:47). By access point I am suggesting something like a door, some behavior or influence that might be giving anger a way into your life. (2Cr 2:11) I pray the Spirit will enlighten your mind as to what this may be. Whatever it is, it is a small cost to remove it from your life. Be radical.

  4. is to look for a way out. God promises a "way out".
    1Co 10:13 (NIV) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

    Often we will not see the "way out" if we are just gritting our teeth in sheer will-power not to sin. The "way out" might be a simple prayer, it might be calling somebody, it might be another thought, it might be to praise God, it might be to weep.

    One time when Laura and I were in a very serious situation, and she was packing her bags and ready to leave, and everything we said to each other just made it worse and worse, my prayers seemed contrived and insincere, and emotions were boiling. I finally said, "Laura, have we looked for a way out?" We agreed to stop and ask to the Lord where His apparently non-existent "way out" was for us in this situation. A few moments later a teenage girl from Laura's youth group back in California called (I think she called, but I might have called her, I can't remember) and we asked her to pray for us and it was like the whole thing dispelled--"popped"--like a bad dream. Amazing, and instructive. Sometimes it helps to stop sweating for a moment, turn to the Lord, take a few deep breaths and just WAIT to see if an escape route emerges.

"Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil..." Amen?

Lord, we ask that you turn back Satanic strongholds in our lives, and rebuke the enemy for your glory and our benefit. Lord, we pray that we would have your strength and power to hold ourselves on the alter long enough for you to kill off the last vestiges of this sin. And finally, Lord, that through this trial we pray that you would burst forth in us with the fruit of self-control, that you would give us the life of Christ in this aspect such that we will not only win against sin, but win more of You in our lives. Amen.

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