9/30/2020 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –

I love this time of the year because I am able to eat fresh tomatoes out of Judy’s garden and as everyone knows, tomatoes go best with bacon! Well, in all transparency, everything goes better with bacon, but it is this time of year that Judy lets me eat more bacon than normal.

For Judy, bacon is the easy part, the work is all done, all she has to do is buy it and bring it home. Now the tomatoes, well that requires much more work! The garden must be rototilled, the seed must be planted, it needs to be watered, it has to be watched so the bugs don’t kill the plants and of course you always have those pesky weeds that have to be pulled. All this must happen before you get to eat the tomato!!

As I was thinking about this (I love to think about anything to do with bacon!) I thought: ‘If it were not for the hard work that goes into maintaining a productive garden, then the garden would soon be overrun with weeds, detrimental bugs and there would be no fresh tomatoes to eat with my bacon.’

Then I began to think, ‘Isn’t it the same with our spiritual life?’ If we do not discipline our lives, then weeds or bad habits begin to form, which in turn if left unaddressed, will form us. So instead of reaping the “Fruit of the Spirit” in our lives, we would reap the fruit of the flesh, which would not be beneficial to anyone. James knew that to be true, that is why He wrote…

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

James 1:21

Pastor Sam, our associate pastor, kindly chastised our people last week to be more sensitive about the posts they are putting on Facebook. Now I have been “around the block” a few times, but I can’t remember in my lifetime when people were as angry as they are now. We have people rioting, burning buildings, and killing people on our streets. We listen as people degrade and verbally defile a Supreme Court Justice appointee for no other reason than they dislike her religion and belief system. You have people saying things about our President that just seethes with anger and hatred.

Sadly to say, this anger is not just confined to non-Christians. This anger is also being displayed by Christians and few things are more destructive to Christians than anger. Anger causes us to lose our self-control and say and do things that reflex a poor image of our Savior. Anger left alone turns into bitterness and will eventually destroy the spiritual vitality of the believer. God even tells us that our anger grieves Him…

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Ephesians 4:30-31

Solomon warns us about this kind of behavior…

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.

Proverbs 15:18

Sadly to say we see this anger becoming more contagious and negatively affecting more people than the coronavirus!! As Christians our anger does not bring about God’s redemptive work; far too often we end up hindering the work that God is wanting to accomplish.

So what is the solution? It takes the same discipline that it takes to have a productive and fruitful garden. The hardness of your heart must be rototilled, the seed that God planted in your soul needs to be watered by the Word of God, you have to watch your heart so that The Adversary doesn’t plant seeds of bitterness and, of course, you must consistently be pulling those sinful attitudes out of your heart and mind. Like a gardener growing a tomato, you must take responsibility for the spiritual harvest in your life.

When I was in Bible School one of the authors we were required to read said:

“We are responsible for our own sin, including those sins ‘which so easily beset us.’ The fact that we do something wrong habitually does not relieve us of responsibility. On the contrary, it may make the sin all the worse. So we must take personal responsibility for our own habits and not shrink from calling them sin.”

Erwin Lutzer in How to Say No to a Stubborn Habit

In this case, we need to admit that our anger is a spiritual problem, and spiritual problems can only be solved by spiritual solutions. The anger must be pulled out and replaced with the Fruit of the Spirit…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Galatians 5:22-26

So if the sin of anger has grown deep roots into your life, then pull out that weed because experiencing anger from a Christian is like eating a rotten tomato from Judy’s garden!! And more importantly, your anger just might have negative eternal consequences for others in your life.

Maybe it is time for some of us to take a deep breath and be reminded what is really important…

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Create a heart of thankfulness and not one of anger. Those people in your life will be forever thankful…