How would you describe Jesus to someone if they asked? What if you only had a few minutes? That’s the idea behind my new ebook, 21/Jesus. It’s a devotional I wrote for busy people who want to know Jesus better. Each of the twenty-one readings focuses on an important, and sometimes overlooked, part of Jesus’ identity or mission. And the book can be read in just a few minutes a day.
I’ll be giving the ebook away for FREE in a few days, but in the meantime, I thought I would share a preview. Enjoy!
Get Ticked Off Like Jesus
“A vigorous temper is not altogether an evil. Men who are easy as an old shoe are generally of little worth.”
—Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read John 11:17–44. “Be angry and do not sin,” the apostle Paul wrote to his friends (Ephesians 4:26 NET). He knew what a powerful emotion anger can be. What we do with it in a single moment can forever affect our lives, our relationships, and the world around us. But notice Paul separates anger from sin; they’re not one and the same thing. Anger is oftentimes merely the friction we feel in our spirit when we rub up against a perceived injustice.
On most days, my sense of fairness—what’s right or wrong with the world—tends to flow from my own point of view. That guy in the BMW who cut me off in traffic this morning without so much as signaling? He was probably just being a selfish jerk, but there is the off-chance he was trying to get to the hospital before his very pregnant wife gave birth to their first child on his back seat and ruined the leather interior. It’s possible, right? At the very least, I should have let the incident go because I’ve been the inconsiderate driver a time or two myself. And besides that, he was a mile up the road before I even finished my colorful critique of his driving.
Better yet, I could have saved my energy for the things that make God mad.
When Jesus arrived in Bethany after His friend Lazarus had been dead four days, “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled” (John 11:33 NLT). Jesus—God in the flesh—got mad. But He wasn’t angry at a personal offense, and He wasn’t angry with the Father or anyone else for the loss of His friend. He was angry at the injustice of disease and death, and the brokenness of our world—at the grief Lazarus’s sisters and friends were experiencing. Funerals were not supposed to be a part of the good world God created. Jesus’ anger reflected the Father’s heart. And so should ours.
“Be angry and do not sin,” we are told. Be angry when the weak are crushed by the strong, when an innocent child is violated, when a loved one is taken too early. Be angry at these things. Jesus is right there with you with clenched fists.