Angry Spirit – People do the craziest things when they loose control of their spirit. Have you ever seen a little toddler through a temper tantrum? Have you ever seen someone become so angry that they hit something like a wall? I remember my aunt getting angry at my uncle crying, throwing pots and pans, and screaming at everyone. I’ve seen grown men express anger ranging from household destruction to physical abuse.

By Pastor Delbert Young

Angry Spirit

Spirit filled life


Angry Spirit

Scriptures: 1 Samuel 21:13, Ephesians 4:26, Proverbs 16:32, Proverbs 19:19, Proverbs 22:24-25, Proverbs 16:32, Proverbs 29:22, Proverbs 15:1

We have been in a series called ‘The Spirit Filled Life.’ This is the sixth and final message. It is about the controlled spirit.

People do the craziest things when they loose control of their spirit. Have you ever seen a little toddler through a temper tantrum? They hurl themselves to the ground, throwing their limbs in every direction, and scream at the top of their lungs. The little child is mad. Have you ever seen someone get so angry that they hit something like a wall? I remember in school watching a boy break his hand when he hit a block wall because his girlfriend had dumped him. He was mad. I remember my aunt getting angry at my uncle. She was crying, throwing pots and pans, and screaming at everyone in the house. She didn’t care whom she hurt with her words. She was mad. I’ve seen grown men become angry. This is probably the scariest of them all. There is no telling what they will do. It could range from household destruction to automobile abuse, mild profanity to the ‘god damning’ kind of language that the neighbors can hear. It can mean a spouse getting knocked around to a child getting knocked down. He doesn’t care at the moment because he is mad. Have you ever experienced or observed “road rage?” I was coming home from Chattanooga one day and I saw these two guys get into it. They were shaking fists and fingers at each other and yelling at each other as they drove down the interstate at 80 miles per hour. They were mad. What’s so sad about this is that I have exemplified, at least in part, every one of those above listed times of madness.

How many would agree that we are not experiencing the Spirit Filled Life when we loose control? We can have the ability to talk in tongues, but if we are out of control, we are not living the spirit filled life.

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he thatruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Proverbs 19:19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.

Proverbs 22:24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered,

Proverbs 22:25 or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Anger Synoptic with Mad

In the English language these days, we have come to use the words angry and mad interchangeably. The definition for mad is “Affected with madness or insanity.” We hear about “mad dogs” or rabid dogs. They are infected with rabies and go insane. Today we use the words angry and mad as having the same meaning. It’s normal for children to warn each other saying, “Watch out. Mom’s mad!” It’s normal for workers to say, “Watch out. The boss is mad!” The Bible goes to great lengths to keep those two concepts separate. We see what being mad is from 1 Samuel.

1 Samuel 21:13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himselfmad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.

In 1 Samuel we read about David imitating a mad man. We are given the concept of what the Bible means when it uses the word “mad.” It depicts insanity, saliva drooling from the mouth, and acting weird. Ephesians gives us the Biblical concept of anger.

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

What is it saying? There is a way to appropriately manage anger without going mad and sinning. There is a way to experience intense anger without throwing a tantrum, a frying pan, or a fist. There is a way to be angry and express anger constructively. The Bible says that we can go to anger, but must stop that emotion at anger and not allow it to become rage or sin. The steps are frustration, anger, and then rage or madness. Managing my anger is living ‘The Spirit Filled Life.’

Difficult to manage anger

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

It is not easy to become angry and not sin. The Bible says that it is more difficult to control my emotions than to fight a war. It is more difficult to be self-controlled, than to control an army. One of my uncles was a decorated WWII veteran. Years ago he told me something. He said that it was easier fighting in World War II than it was having the self-control required to fix his broken marriage. Not long after that, he and my aunt divorced. He had courage to go to war and take German occupied cities, but did not have the courage to go to counseling and therapy and do what he needed to do to fix his marriage. It takes enormous amounts of courage to rule our emotions.

Anger is Complex

What is this thing called anger? Psychologists say that anger is our most complex emotion. Happiness and sadness are emotions that are easily understood. Love and hate are understood. Anger is complex and mysterious. Some people can become angry, even go mad, over the smallest irritation. Others can have major calamities occur and never become angry. What determines the length of someone’s fuse? Is it genetics? Is it because of a childhood experience? Why do some people turn their anger inward while others hurl it out spewing it on any and everyone? Anger is complex.

1. Anger is inevitable There are some things we learn from God’s word about anger. One is that God has designed us to feel the emotion of anger. We are created in his image. God’s word tells us that God can become angry. We are going to become angry. We are wired that way. Becoming angry is inevitable.

2. Anger is not sinful Another thing we learn from the Bible is that the experience of anger in itself is not sinful. God did not sin when he became angry. Anger should provoke us to do what is right. I remember becoming angry about my finances in the late 1980’s. That anger provoked me to do what was right about my finances.

3. Anger can be managed. The primary thing that the Bible teaches us about anger is that we can manage it. I can rule my spirit. If we are going to enjoy the Spirit Filled Life, we must learn how to manage anger.


How do most people handle anger? There are two primary tendencies. People will either “bottle it up,” or “spew it out.” The bottler pushes everything down inside. The spewer spews it out all over the place. If you are sitting next to someone that you know well, whisper to them what their tendency is when they become angry. Say, “You are a bottler,” or say, “You are a spewer.” If you are sitting next to a spewer, you may need to be careful when you say it. Let’s talk about these two tendencies.

1. The Bottler

These are people who respond to the disappointments and upsets of life by denying that they are all that angry. They shove their anger into the closets of their consciousness. They push it down inside. They almost pride themselves saying, “I never get angry.” They project that they are above anger. They convince themselves that they skim over the top of anger. However, if you notice, they are often sick.

Bottling anger, or pushing down anger, is a lot like burying toxic waste in canisters. We put this stuff under ground and everybody thinks the problem is gone until months or even years later. People begin having serious medical problems. Leukemia, all forms of cancer, birth defects, etc. begin happening. The truth is that the toxic waste began leaking out of the canisters and got into the water table.

Listen and listen closely. Bottled up anger always leaks. You will not be an exception to that phenomenon. It always leaks. Internally the anger leaks. It will (A) poison your body. People will have stomach problems, headaches, sleep disorders, etc. Leaking anger will (B) poison a person’s attitude toward life (soul). They become hateful biter, and cynical. It will poison relationships. These people will pout. You ask them, “What’s wrong.” They say, “Nothing, nothing,” but they are over pouting and pulling away. It will (C) poison their spiritual life. They will become angry at God and Christians. Their salvation experience becomes poisoned. Yet, they say, “I’m not angry. I don’t get angry.” The truth is they have toxic waste leaking into their spirit, soul and body. Bottling anger is not the way to manage anger.

2. The Spewer

There is the other group of people who handle their anger in a totally different way. They spew it out. They let it fly. When they get angry, they curse God. They curse people. They slam doors. They kick little dogs. They vomit their anger all over everyone and other people pay. The bottler will keep it all inside and make himself sick. The spewer will vomit the toxic waste all over everyone else and make everyone else sick. People walk on eggshells when around the spewer. People are afraid to talk or react because of the consequences.

The spewer goes on over and over and over again.

Proverbs 19:19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.

This person must be tolerated again and again and again. Rage is their way of dealing with life’s disappointments. Rage is expressed over something and if that rage doesn’t fix it, the person will rage again. The cycle goes on and on.

The unchecked emotion of rage will only breed more rage.

Proverbs 22:24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered,

Proverbs 22:25 or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

There is this principle of osmosis that I have been talking about lately. When we are consistently around a hot-tempered person, we become like that person. Proverbs says to steer clear of spewers. Spewing anger is not the way to handle anger.

So, if bottling anger doesn’t work and spewing anger doesn’t work, then what are we going to do with anger that will inevitably come into our lives? The Bible says we must learn to manage anger. How do we do that?

True to life experience

The way I want to share this with you is to share a true to life experience I had a few years ago. Before my dad died, he had eye surgery and had some growths removed from his back. The procedures had been very expensive, but he had insurance and our cost was to be minimal. However, I began receiving these huge hospital bills for thousands of dollars that they said I owed. According to my records, I was paid in full and I had all the statements and receipts to prove it. I would get one of those nasty letters. I would respond with a phone call explaining, giving check numbers, and billing numbers. I would write down names and dates for my records. Thinking the situation was resolved, I would hang up the phone only to get another bill the next month with an even nastier letter. This went on for several months. I was becoming increasing frustrated.

One day I was having a really wonderful morning. I had experienced a great time of prayer. I went to my study and was working on the Sunday message. It was a really enjoyable the time of study when the phone rang. It was this snobby person on the other end. They were calling about my dad’s bill. The person basically told me that I was lying and did not have proof of paying anything. He said that unless I could bring my records up there and let them see, that I would be taken to court. Needless to say, I became more than frustrated very quickly. I had moved to anger.

At that moment, I found myself experiencing those emotions inside. I was thinking that I would like to get my hands on this fellow. I would give him a Bible study he would never forget. I noticed that I was no longer sitting in my chair. I was now standing up talking to this guy. My voice had intensified. There was an acute scowl on my face. I said in anger, “I will bring my records right now and you can see them,” and hung the phone up. Out the door I went with my folder of bills and statements and processed checks.

I remember getting into my truck, squealing tires, and heading north on highway 27. It was about that time that I remember thinking, “I am angry. I believe I am angry enough that I could go mad and cause a major situation.”

1. RECOGNIZE THAT FRUSTRATION HAS TURNED TO ANGER AND HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME RAGE/MADNESS TOXIC Time Out: The first point about managing anger is learning to recognize when we have crossed the line and frustration has turned to anger because the next level is rage or madness. It is at the anger level that this emotion must be managed. There is a process. We first become frustrated, then angry, then cross the line into madness or rage. We must learn to recognize this as early on as possible. We must say to ourselves, “My temperature is rising.” “My buttons have been pushed.” “My fuse has been lit.” “My collar is getting warm.” “I am getting steamed up.” The earlier I recognize that this is happening, the more time I have to decide how I am going to manage my anger.

We all have a warning system. We don’t go from frustration to rage (madness) without going through anger. We have an inner warning system that flashes saying, “Danger, Danger!” Maybe your pulse increases or your breathing increases. Maybe your fists clench. Maybe your posture stiffens. Maybe it’s a welling up of a desire to lash out at somebody. We all have the warning saying, “Danger, Danger!” Learn to recognize the warning and call it what it is. Don’t deny it. Don’t shove it down in your canister. Don’t spew it out. Just say, “Wait a minute. I am angry.”

Back to my story. I have realized that I am angry and that my anger has the potential to become madness. I am now in my truck heading up highway 27 north. I have these two tracks going off inside of me. One is steaming and saying, “Who does this guy think he is?” “I have been dealing with these people for months.” “Can’t they do a simple bookkeeping procedure?” I am thinking about how this stupid guy has ruined my day. I had things to do for God’s sake. I was preparing my Sunday message and ministering to people. This guy has interfered with the kingdom.

The other track is saying, “Why are you letting this get to you so badly. You know you have good records and all you need to do is shown your records. You actually should have done this a few weeks ago when you were visiting someone at the hospital. Then you wouldn’t be going through this.”

So, I get there. I walk into the accounts receivable office and there is a line. Now, that is just what I needed. I hate lines. I am thinking, “Do they screw up their bookkeeping that badly that this many people need to be here?” “I could fix their bookkeeping system.” So, I am standing there with my arms folded. In front of the line there is this older lady. She is taking an extremely long time and asking all sorts of irrelevant questions over and over. She is frustrating the entire line and especially me. Finally she gets finished talking and with her arms full of papers, she turns and begins walking back down the line toward the door. Just as she gets to me, she drops her papers in the floor. I’m thinking, “Pick the papers up yourself old lady. That’s what you get for taking so long and asking so many stupid questions.” Well, my conscious convicted me. So, I squatted down in the floor with her and helped her pick up her papers. She thanked me and went out the door.

Now I’m looking for my friend that told me I was lying on the phone. I wanted him. I had his name written on a piece of paper, but all I saw were women. Now what am I going to do? I have a very important decision to make about my anger and it must be made very soon. Am I going to vent on this woman at the counter? I really want to vent. I want somebody to know that they have messed up my day. What am I going to do with my anger when I come face to face with the person at the counter? I was actually deciding just how much of a jerk I was going to be. Was I going to be a little jerk or a big jerk? Or, would I manage my anger and simply deal with the bookkeeping problem?

2. WE MAKE CHOICES ABOUT WHAT WE DO WITH OUR ANGER. Second time out. We can make choices about what we can do with our anger. We don’t have to deny it and bottle it and stuff it down only to have it leak out later. We don’t have to spew it out all over everyone and everything. With God’s help, we can actually rule our spirits. We can control our spirits and manage our anger.

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

I can rule my spirit. We can take the appropriate approach. There is help from the Holy Spirit. We can focus on an appropriate scripture. We can pray and ask God to help us with the crisis at hand. If someone else is there that we are not angry toward, we can ask them to help us. The fact is that we do not have to sin with our anger. There are choices involved. If we make the correct choices, we enlarge our characters. If we make the wrong choices, we sin as anger becomes madness.

Back to the hospital. I still want someone to pay. If I could make someone pay then I would feel better. At the same time the whisper of the Holly Spirit is speaking reasoning and showing me the proper perspective of the moment. “It’s just a bill.” “You know that when you show them this information, everything will be corrected. It’s only a mistake. Delbert, have you ever made a mistake? You know they must see this information. You should have done this a few weeks ago.” I was next in line by now. In a few moments I would come face to face with a person. The Holy Spirit said, “It’s not this person’s fault. This person has a job to do and is paid low wages to deal with people who have not learned to manage their anger. Did you want to be a person like that? Do you want to sin?”

Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.

Was I really going to let this thing take me over the edge? Was I really going to blow my anger all over that room of people? I knew I was a spewer and that I had the potential to make a real scene. It was at that time that the Holy Spirit said the bottom line to me. He said, “The person you are about to vent your anger upon matters to God. Christ gave his life for that person. Is what you are about to do going to help Christ’s purposes, or damage Christ’s purpose? No matter what is going on in your life, you must treat people as the treasures they are to God.” The Holy Spirit was cheering me on saying, “Do this one right.” There are always two roads to take when angry. There is the low road which is destructive. There is the high road which is constructive. We decide which we take.

I stepped to the counter. I made the decision to handle it correctly. I obviously had some look of frustration on my face. The woman behind the counter said in an understanding voice and with a smile, “Bad day?” That was a class move on her part.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

What if she had said, “So what’s your beef Bozo?” Had she responded with something like that, I think I would have exploded and vomited my anger all over that office. When we are in a state of mind involving anger, we can’t handle a harsh word. That would have sent me over the edge. Gentle words defuse the situation.

When we see someone on the edge of rage and madness, find a gentle word. Help the person. The next time you are in an argument with your spouse, or fussing with the kids, or in a tense situation at work, find a gentle word. Memorize Proverbs 15:1. It is a key to the Spirit filled life.

I explained my situation to her. I said in a friendly way, “Mr. So-and-So said that I needed to bring these records by and show them to him.” She said, “He doesn’t have his office here. He is only a collection agent.” She said, “Let me take a look at these. I will be right back.” When she came back, she said, “I found the problem. Your insurance payment was posted to another person’s account. I have taken care of it. You will be receiving a certified letter confirming this in a few days.” Then with a smile on her face she said, “Do you want me to send the letter to your home address or to Life Gate Church, Pastor Young?” I was a little taken back and had this puzzled look on my face which said, “How do you know what I do and where I work?” She said, “I watch your television program frequently.” Inside of me there was this, “Thank you Holy Spirit for helping me manage my anger and do this one right.” We chatted for a few minutes as she finished the paper work. She asked about the church. I thanked her and left. Two days later I received a paid in full statement and an apology for the bookkeeping error never to hear about that bill again.

3. ANGER CAN BE MANAGED Third time out. We learn a lot about ourselves in times of anger. We learn that we can go from a time of experiencing the presence of God to a time of anger in a few moments. In the correct circumstances, I am still able to go from light to darkness. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done in my heart. We learn that even in tense situations of anger, the Holy Spirit will speak to us and bend things around so we can handle them. We learn that we can hear the Holy Spirit in those situations. We learn that we can manage our anger. We learn that we love that feeling of doing it right. We hate the feeling when we blow it and dishonor God. In reality, every time we become angry, it is an opportunity to see what we are made of. It is a tremendous thermometer to gauge our spiritual lives. In the Spirit Filled Life, we manage our spirits. Let’s pray.

Other Related Sermons:

Proverbs Adventure With Your Heart 2 – sermon video audio notes

Irresistible Life – sermon notes

Keep On Asking Seeking Knocking – sermon notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young