On “The Incredible Hulk” TV show from the late 70’s, Bruce Banner would get into a conflict with some baddies and then say “You don’t want to make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry” He would then change into Hulk and save the day.
But isn’t that how we sometimes feel? “You better not make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry” There’s a wild beast inside of us that we can’t control. If external factors trigger the beast, then we explode into a fit of anger.
In Ephesians 4:26, Paul seems to be saying something different – “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger”
He lets us know that there can be change in our emotional lives. Change can come but it must come from the inside. We may try external pressures like rules or education to restrain the Hulk living inside of us. But there’s a monster looking for an excuse to be released. The bible calls it our sinful nature or the flesh.
Galatians 5:16-17 puts it like this: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other”
If you are a follower of Christ, then Jesus has given you his Spirit. God has given you a new heart which allows you to make choices that are pleasing to God. The Spirit will give you power to to change over time.
This verse tells us to “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” What does that mean?
Review the beauty of the gospel again and again in your mind so that it warms your heart. Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for your sins – even the emotional outbursts of anger which mark you life. Think about that again and again.
But what does have to do with anger? Everything.
For as your heart is filled with the mercy of God poured out for you on the cross – change will come. Jesus is making all things new – even your emotions. The old Hulk will fade away and new emotions, even in the face of the “baddies”, will mark your life by the grace of God.