Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:20)

JAMES USES GARDENING language to make his point here. He says the Word is “planted” in us. This makes God the Divine Gardener, who is at work landscaping our lives. God has planted the written Word of Scripture into the world and the living Word of Jesus into our hearts. So how will this Word grow? And what will destroy its growth?

Anger is to righteousness as poison is to a flower. Just as weed-killer will kill much more than weeds, destroying any plant it touches, so it is with anger. Yes, anger can destroy the arguments of others, the pride of others, and perhaps the feeling of helplessness you have before lashing out in anger. But anger will also kill the righteous life of the one who indulges in it. Anger will kill righteousness.

So if we destroy what God has planted in us using the herbicide of anger, how are we to let the Divine Gardener grow the righteousness within us? Perhaps, as in any good organic garden, we are to resist the easy step of using herbicides. Instead, James encourages us to humbly let God increase our righteousness so much that all evil will be overgrown with good. Spoiled virtue will wither and die on its own when we allow our Divine Gardener to grow an abundance of His righteousness within us.

When given an opportunity to indulge your anger, refuse it.

Brian Niece is a former pastor who is now pursuing a PhD, writing, spending time with his wife and three kids, and watching way too much football.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.