Summary: In the second part of the message Freedom From Anger (part two in the Freedom From... series), Dave talks about ways of dealing with anger.
Freedom From Anger, 2
Freedom From... prt. 2
Wildwind Community Church
September 4, 2009
Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
What does it mean to deny ourselves? If you were here last week, you heard me teach that there are two you's - you, and the you that is sick of you and has had enough. If you missed that teaching, I hope you'll go back and get that message off the website, because it is critical not only for our talk about anger, but for everything else we'll be covering in this series. To deny ourselves is to get rid of (shake off -- put to death) that part of us that endlessly seeks our own satisfaction. Think of this endless seeking not only in terms of sinful things like greed and lust and envy, but also in terms of the other white noise our mind generates. Worry about a conversation that went wrong yesterday. Over-concern about how we are coming across. Self-consciousness. Concerns for tomorrow. All of those things come from the desire of the self to take care of the self and secure its best good. When the self undertakes to secure the best good of the self, then we have launched out into independence from God.
Jesus said whoever wants to save his life will lose it. A life spent securing ourselves, going after what we think is ours, harming those who harm us, speaking and thinking badly of those who speak and think badly of us, seeking prestige and reputation -- when we seek these things (these are the things we think will "save" our lives) we will find life constantly slipping through our fingers, always eluding us, never matching up to our standards for it, always resulting in anger and frustration and hurt and disappointment that it's not turning out in accordance with our best efforts. Or, worse yet, we might find that it DOES turn out in accordance with our best efforts and have to deal with the big fat so-what-now that comes when we have gotten everything we thought we ever wanted. This part of us is called the ego. The ego consists not only of our sense of how valuable we are, but technically the ego is our whole set of ideas about ourselves and how can get what we want, as well as our ideas and impressions of what, and who, might stand in our way. Anytime you have made efforts to do something, that came from your ego - it was your idea of how you could get something done that you wanted to get done. Think again about the two you's - you, and the you that is sick of you. Well, the you I'm talking about is your ego, and your ego is constantly striving to get what you want, and avoid what you do not want. The you that is sick of you - that's your spirit. That's the part of you that is tired of the ceaseless striving to be happy, tired of insecurity and self-doubt, tired of the constant emotional ups and downs that the ego and all of its pursuits bring to us. And when spirit you starts crying out for peace, what happens? Ego you comes up with a plan. You're going to start thinking more positively. You're going to surround yourself with more positive people. You're going to read a self-help book. You're going to just start being less negative. That all sounds good, but they are the plans of ego you to help spirit you, and they will result in more of the fruits of ego that are already killing spirit you. Disappointment, falling short, frustration, guilt, the high highs and the low lows, being stuck in the past through regret, being stuck in the future through fear. That's the cycle we're locked into.
Ego us going around trying to make things right, spirit us crying out for relief, and then ego us coming up with a plan and pursuing it, ending always in more of what spirit us is already sick of.
1 John 2:16-17 (MSG)
16 Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him.
17 The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out...
The more we seek to save our lives, the more we will lose our lives, because this desire to save our lives is a desire to keep ego firmly intact -- to keep ego (the self) on the throne of our lives. It is all part of a system that endlessly wants and wants and wants and wants. This desire itself is corrupt. Even our good desires for ourselves and others come out of this basically corrupt place that is ego-driven and all about getting and then keeping what's mine.