Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."
Two months ago we moved to Superior. We knew the transition from Dallas would be difficult. We didn't have any friends or family. We would need to re-create our support system. We would need to find a new school for the kids. We would need to re-establish our family routines. We would need to acclimate to the weather. We would need to adjust our financial expenses to the cost of living. We knew all of these things.
What we didn't know was how much the stress would elevate tension within our home. We, like every couple, have arguments and disagreements. Usually they are short lived. We acknowledge the challenge. We find a resolution. We move on. But lately, since moving to Superior, we have not been so successful. The temperature within the home is so high that any spark can cause a flame within a matter of seconds. When fires start, her natural reaction is throw on the gasoline. My natural reaction is to let it burn. When this combination of anger and pride come together, it makes for a very hard fire to put out. The past couple of months, the fires have unfortunately been all too frequent and familiar. Maybe you can relate to experiencing a season like this.
Although it's normal to feel this way during a major transition, we acknowledge that there's more going on behind the scenes. We can feel it. We're aware of it. It's real. It's spiritual warfare.
Satan is the spiritual founder of division, discord, and disunity. When the marriage is on fire, picture Satan smiling. It's easy to forget that life is a spiritual battlefield. We are more than humans having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. The spiritual reality behind the natural reality has greater influence. Although I strongly advocate for growth in emotional intelligence (self and social awareness), it's important we also increase spiritual intelligence. Let's talk about that.
In the context of sinful anger, Ephesians 4:27 says do not give the devil a foothold. This is important. What's a foothold? Webster says it's a "a secure position from which further progress may be made." The ultimate goal for Satan is pride and division. Therefore, this is saying do not give the devil a foothold for further progress towards his goal. Have you noticed how a small spark of resentment can turn into a large flame of rage and bitterness that divides the relationship? Sowing small seeds of sinful anger quickly lead to fires that can get out of control. When my wife and I feel like the marriage is on fire, it's almost always due to something small getting out of control. That's why God gave us this Word of Scripture. He wants to protect us. He wants to increase our spiritual intelligence. That we would be aware of Satan's schemes. That we would not allow him to get a foothold in our marriage. That we would be people of humility, not pride. That we would be people of reconciliation, not division.
Here are some things we are working on right now to put out the fires in our marriage:
Be Quick to forgive (don't put it off)
Be Quick to repent (don't make excuses)
Be Quick to reconcile (don't be stubborn)
Be Quick to take ownership (don't blame)
Be Quick to overlook offenses (don't get offended)
That would be nice, wouldn't it? Although we don't have the power to quick to act like we want when the heat is on, God does. He demonstrated His forgiveness toward us on the cross. While we were yet sinners, God showed us love toward us in Christ. Because of Him and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we do not have to let our sinful anger separate us from the people we love. In Christ through the Holy Spirit, God has given us the ultimate fire extinguisher. Put out the fire. Put it out quickly. Before the sun goes down.