Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Eph. 4:31)

DR. BEN CARSON is a world-renowned neurosurgeon, but he didn’t always have his life together. As a youth, Carson had a pathological temper. One day he had to be restrained because he was about to beat his own mother, who hadn’t bought him the clothing he wanted. Another time, while arguing about a song on the radio, he took out a pocketknife and tried to drive it into his best friend’s abdomen. Fortunately, the blade snapped on the large belt buckle his friend was wearing.

Aware of this rage, Carson locked himself in the bathroom, crying out to God. Not knowing what else to do, he read the Bible. He writes: “After a while peace began to fill my mind. My hands stopped shaking. The tears stopped. During those hours alone . . . something happened to me. God heard my deep cries of anguish. A feeling of lightness flowed over me, and I knew a change of heart had taken place. I felt different. I was different.”

God calls us to a difficult task when he tells us to get rid of the evil within. It is hard to forgive, to be patient, to be longsuffering, to deal with the same problem again and again. But it is possible. God has shown us how to live in love, and the Spirit of God will help us overcome. We are dearly loved, and we do not have to grieve the Spirit with our sin.

Today, pray earnestly for victory from a besetting sin.

Lawrence W. Wilson is a pastor, author, blogger, and avid cyclist from Fishers, Indiana. He is the author of A Different Kind of Crazy (WPH).