Ecclesiastes 7:9 Offended Quickly

Blowing a flame

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9 

Being offended by something is common among many people. They like their way of doing things and way of thinking. When someone else does or thinks differently, they are offended that someone could be that way.

Words are often spoken that are truth, but contain some ugly fact about someone or some event in them. People desiring to forget the past, will often quickly take offense to what is said, forgetting the real truth.

Once a person becomes provoked or offended, they will often quickly say or do something that is wrong in retaliation. This is where many fights and battles begin, is in retaliation to an offense.

In this passage today, one is told not to be quickly provoked. The anger that arises in provocation is something that only fools possess.

Sadly many believers are very quickly provoked to anger. They will very quickly take offense with the way a non-believer lives or wants things to be. Instead of showing love and care, they strike back in anger with words and sometimes actions.

This not only happens outside the church, but often occurs within the church. People take offense with the pastor or other church members. They do not like the way something is said and get angry. Then they talk about the offense under the pretense of care or concern, but rather as gossip and causing division among the believers.

Every believer is supposed to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. One of the results of being filled with His Holy Spirit is the fruit of peace. This believer will be at peace and remain calm when someone tries to provoke or offend him.

Jesus had every reason to be provoked, but He remained in control and did not retaliate in anger.

Allow yourself to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit and filled with the peace Jesus gives you. There will be days when someone will do or say something to provoke you to anger. Sometimes this will be on purpose, other times it is just who they are.

Do not allow yourself to be quickly angered, becoming a fool and making a bad choice in word or action. Allow God to control your emotions in the situation and choose to walk the path of love and compassion.

Allow God’s peace to reign in your heart and mind.

I pray today that you will know God’s peace in your heart; that God will give you strength to overlook an offense; that God will help you to chose love over retaliation; and that your choices will reveal God’s character of love. 

Fruit Of The Spirit: Forbearance/Patience

Patience on blackboard

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

Over the last few weeks I have looked at the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy and peace. Now I will be looking at forbearance or patience. The NIV translates the word as forbearance, while many other translations translate it as patience. Both carry the meaning of holding up under pressure or during trouble without anger, anxiety, or frustration.

Patience is something that is not often seen in this fallen world. Things cannot happen fast enough. No matter how fast something is, in a short time people want it to be faster.

Take a look at computers and how fast they are today compared to forty years ago and yet, people complain that they are not fast enough. Or look at the speed of driving down the road. Regardless of how high the speed limit is, there are some who will drive faster.
Frustrated with computer

The patience in these situations are just with things. People are also lacking in patience when it comes to life situations. Promotions do not come fast enough, someone does not return a text or phone call fast enough, a person is not checking out fast enough, and the list goes on indefinitely.

Others are also not patient with themselves. They did not learn fast enough, they did not change fast enough. They were not successful enough or some other fault that they see in themselves.

For many believers a lack of patience is found in waiting for a person to change a habit or for God to answer a prayer.

In all of these ways and many more people are not patient.

The bible is filled with examples of people who were patient and those who were not patient. Joseph was given a vision of him being a ruler. Before that came about he was thrown into slavery and into prison. But after many years of patience, he became the second in power over Egypt, only under Pharaoh.

Empty prison cells

David was anointed to be the next king of Israel. He had to run for his life for many years before he became king. He had multiple opportunities to seize the throne, but he would not take it by force. David waited for God to hand it to him. He waited in patience for God to move.

Job went through may trials and a lot of loss in his life. Yet, he waited patiently for God to restore him and stop the trials. He refused to curse God in his struggles, even when he did not understand what was going on or why it was happening.

The ultimate example of patience is Jesus:

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2b-3

The ‘enduring’ in these verses is patience. It is putting up with trouble and keep going forward without anger or frustration.

Snowy mountain

Jesus had taken on the all the sin of every person for all time and the anger of God the Father’s wrath against that sin so that you and I could have forgiveness and life. As He did that, He did not complain or murmur. He took with patience and love.

Now with describing patience from the bible and examples of how patience was displayed, what does that mean for you and I?

Good thing you asked! We are to live our lives just as Jesus lived His…with patience. So what does that look like?

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

If one is patient, he will not be quickly provoked to anger. In other words he will not get angry when someone does something wrong or does not change like he thinks they should.

Roaring bear

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

It takes a lot of patience to keep doing what is good and right. This is especially true if the person who you are doing good to is not grateful or despises you. Be patient because there is a reward for you from God if you do not give up.

Wrong way sign

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

God is love and we are to be like God—love. Everything that we say and do or do not say or do not do must be done out of love for God and for others. When we have the enduring perfect love of God in our hearts, we WILL be patient with ourselves and with others.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

When you are anxious about anything, you are not at peace. Something is wrong and you are worried about it and striving to change it. Instead of being anxious bring it to God with thanksgiving and allow Him to deal with it and guide you through the situation. Relax and be at peace about it, rather than uptight and anxious. God is in control, let Him be.

Anxious lady

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 

You will have afflictions, sicknesses and problems, Jesus promised that you will have trouble. Be patient. It will not last forever, though it may feel like it at the moment. Hold on and be patient because God is in control and is bringing you through the situation.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7

People will do wicked things. Good people in the church will do mean things or wrong things. Be patient and wait for God to move. Don’t forget God is in control of every situation. He sees what is going on. Be patient as you wait for Him to take care of the situation.

Control room

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

You do have faults, but God is working on you to fix them. He is building you into the image of Jesus. Do not be so harsh and impatient with yourself, but keep moving forward in Jesus with His Holy Spirit growing and changing daily. God will finish the work in you He set out to do. Be patient with yourself.

There are many other verses throughout the bible that talk about patience. Take the time to look them all up.

Seek God in learning to have the patience that the Holy Spirit can bring into your life. In order to get it, remember that you will have to go through some tough struggles challenging your patience. You cannot learn patience without a struggle against it. People and situations will challenge you.

Satan does not want you to be patient, but to blow your top and get angry, causing you to say and do things that are sinful. He wants you to fail and he will do what he can to bring that about.

Hold onto God and be led by His Holy Spirit and you will have patience.

Holding bars

When you are bearing His fruit of love, you will have joy. When you are bearing the fruit of joy, you will have peace. When you are bearing the fruit of peace, you will have patience or forbearance. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and bear His fruit. It is worth.

Thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Please feel free to share this with someone who can use it. Any comments or thoughts will be appreciated.

Next week I will be looking at kindness. I hope to see you then.

Proverbs 15:1 Speaking Softly

Gentle with butterfly

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

The fastest reaction that people have to what someone else says or does is with their words. People are quick to answer someone’s words or actions.

When the words or actions are harmful and offensive, the reaction is often spoken with harsh, condemning words. Retaliation is quick and swift in the attempt to strike back and make the person pay. Anger rises up and gets the best of a person.

Responding in this way, only causes the first person to respond with even more harsh and condemning words. This is what causes many fight and keeps many battles moving forward, rather than being solved.

Solomon realizes that a soft answer will keep anger at bay and calm a person down. Harsh words will only get a person more angry.

Harsh words are easy to speak and often are the first things that come out of a person. Believers are often quick to use harsh words under the disguise of trying to help the person see the error of their ways. Christians are often quick to condemn the sin in another person with harsh words, rather than showing true love.

The only time Jesus used harsh words was with the religious leaders who should have known better. With those who were lost in sin and did not know God in any way, He spoke with gentle words of love and kindness.

When words of condemnation and hate are spoken to unbelievers or even to other believers, it will raise up their anger. It will make a wrong even more wrong, causing greater battles and injury.

There is nothing harsh in the words of love, mercy and grace. Those are words that reach out to touch a person for God, revealing God’s true character.

As you go along in life there will be times when you will be hurt by someone or see someone steeped in sin. How you respond to that person will reveal the character of God. Your words can either draw the person towards God or push them away.

Harsh, condemning words will push them away and cause their anger to rise up against you and God. Soft and gentle, but firm words will calm them down and draw them towards Jesus.

How are your words causing others to act? Are they stirring up anger or are they drawing them towards God and diffusing the anger?

I pray today that you will know the love of God; that God will give you the words to speak; that you will speak out of the love God has for you and for others; and that your words will be the words of God to build up rather than tear down and destroy.

Psalm 37:1-2 Do Not Fret Over Evil

Dry dead grass

Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Psalm 37:1-2 

Doing evil and promoting evil is prevalent in society, no matter where one goes. A person cannot get away from seeing evil being done around him, regardless of where he is at. The reason for this is that this is a fallen world. Man has fallen away from God and does his own thing.

The eyes of man has been blinded as to what is good and true. Being blind has caused man to continue to sin and not only sin, but to encourage others to sin even more.

As this has occurred, many believers have begun to worry or fret about it. In their worry over those who sin, some have done things that have not been Christ-like. They strike in anger to stop the sin or speak condemning words with no love attached.

During his life, David had a lot of people doing evil and were against him. He realized that he does not have to worry about it, because those who do evil are there only for a short time. In the end they will die.

While a believer must never accept or promote evil, he also should not get angry and strike because of evil. As soon as he strikes in anger, he is becoming like them. Others will worry and fret over the rise of evil actions going on around them. Jesus said not to worry about anything. Worry is a sin.

Believers must show a loving example of who Jesus is to the world. They must be an example of what the better life is, how life can be fulfilling and full of joy without sin.

You most likely see a lot of sin going on around you. You may see it rising higher and higher all the time. It can cause fear and worry in your life, if your focus is not upon God.

Do not forget that God is in control. Jesus promised that things would get worse as time went along. The world does not know Jesus and does not know how to live life correctly. Do not worry about it, but be His shining light in this world.

Ask God to show you how to touch the lives of the lost. They are here only for a short time. Work to bring them to Jesus, rather than fight them.

I pray today that you will see God in control; that God will remove all fear of evil around you; that you will be a witness of Jesus to this world; and that God will change many lives through you.