Powlison on Anger: An Excerpt from “Heart of the Matter”

David Powlison knows about anger. Not that he is an exceptionally angry person. No, that’s not his personality at all. In person, he appears to be a very peace-filled and joyful man.

But Powlison seems to know the inside and out of what anger is. His articles in the Journal of Biblical Counseling on anger have totally re-shaped my conception of anger.

In today’s excerpt from Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives, Powlison encourages us to understand God’s anger better and to change ours. 


Galatians 5:16–26 

How does God respond when something important in his world is wrong? He responds redemptively. Is God angry when people act like their own god? Yes. But how did he express that anger? By sending his own Son to this broken world to be broken on the cross. He sacrificed his Son so his people can be forgiven, transformed, and restored to a right relationship with him and others.

Your anger can also result in redemption. When you come to God and find forgiveness for Jesus’ sake, you will be filled with God’s Spirit. Because you are filled with his Spirit, it will be possible for you also to respond redemptively when you are angry.

Being filled with the Spirit means everything about you will start to resemble God. Instead of responding with sinful anger to unimportant things, you will start to see your life from God’s perspective. You will begin to care about things that truly matter, instead of overreacting to relatively unimportant things. When Jesus was on earth, he was not a stoic. No one cared more than he did about the things that were wrong in this world. He cared so much that he gave his life to right those wrongs. But his upset was driven by faith and love, not by pettiness, hostility, and aggression. Becoming like God means that you will care about the things Jesus cares about—the things that truly matter in God’s world.

– David Powlison, Reading for June 23, p 175


This post is a part of the Heart of the Matter blog tour.  Are you taking part in our contest for a free copy?

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