Idolatry is a significant battle for all human beings, especially because we were intentionally designed to be extravagant worshippers. The problem is not whether or not we will worship – we do that by default. The issue is “What will we set our affection, attention and devotion to in our daily walk to receive healing, peace and joy?”
Idolatry is a systematic tool the enemy uses to distract our heart’s affection from the Living God, keeping us from receiving the fullness of His nature in us. Idolatry takes a person, situation, habit or pleasure and makes it a counterfeit source for our refuge. It takes things that are not evil in themselves and makes them a hindering source–keeping our hearts from being changed fully. We end up with a crutch.
In our brokenness, humanity is vulnerable to idols in the heart, because we desperately long to feel well and at peace from the wounds of life. Yet idols keep us from truly being healed – they become band aids that give temporary senses of relief, yet the toxic lies and broken areas of our hearts remain. The assignment of idols is to keep us from the fullness of the Creator, with His love and goodness by settling for a cheap imitation.
In order to be healed from key areas of hurt, we will often have to deal with key strongholds that idols seek to keep intact. The strongholds are often protected by anger. Anger becomes a defense mechanism. We are not really angry about the situation at hand–there is an unresolved issue underneath driving this rage.
Scriptural Reminders Regarding Anger:
1. Anger is connected to a root of bitterness, which involves defilement.
Bitterness has a set of branches that feed off of it. (Read Hebrews 12:15, Ephesians 4:31)
Bitterness includes: offense, unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation, anger/wrath/rage, hatred, violence, murder, strife
2. Anger is not always sin.
I rarely hear this taught, but anger can actually be a place where divine passion is fueled. Many of the great men and women of God in history stepped up because of a holy discontent that burned within them over something. Anger pressed pressed Jesus to flip the tables, yet he did not sin, especially because He was under self control.
The Bible says, “BE angry and do not sin,do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” (Read Ephesians 4:26-17) When anger starts. it doesn’t have to be sin. The Bible tells us to go ahead and be angry, but you have until you go to bed to make it right. If this is properly practiced, we cultivate healthy relationships, we possess powerful sleep and we can walk in health. If we continually let our anger battles stew within us before going to sleep, we have an evil spirit at work to torment us further the next day. We don’t like to hear it, but toxic bitterness gives the devil room in our lives to defile.
3. Anger, rage and wrath are key spiritually rooted issues that produce disease of the body.
Unresolved anger and hostility, either expressed or repressed are dangerous to human beings in the long term. They are key root causes to heart disease and cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and angina. Through the mind and body connection, the body responds to unresolved anger through toxicity, inflammation and break down of key body system functions. Most people don’t realize how truly angry they are, but we must come to terms with getting healed in our hurt–our bodies depend on it.
4. Anger is usually protecting an idol of thought that surrounds a past unresolved hurt.
When we express anger, we are usually not angry about the situation itself, we are angry about a past hurt that has stayed with us. For instance, a person may get angry when he feels that people are ignoring him. He is not so much angry at the present situation, he is angry about a past hurt of being ignored–probably as a child.
The idol that rises up is, “You HAVE to listen to me and you cannot ignore me, in order for me to feel loved.” That is an idol, because true healing involves knowing that Father God as your source, will never ignore you or leave you. This opens us up for healing. If we don’t recognize these deep roots, we will fall into the same patterns of anger–and carry a sense of self-hatred because of our frustrated attempts to stop.
Addressing the Root System of Anger:
- Write down what makes you angry. (Ask God to help you to put down the key ones on paper.)
- What is the idol that the anger is protecting?
Example: I get angry when people let me down. Idol = people cannot let me down.
Example: I get angry when people talk about a weakness in me. Idol = I cannot be vulnerable or show weakness.
Example: I get angry when people criticize my work. Idol = I cannot make mistakes or have room for failure.
- Where is the door-point of this anger?
Usually this goes back to an unresolved childhood issue with dad and mom. This is not a blame time, nor is it a time to try and drudge up every memory of the past. But it is healthy to identify where this anger started. It usually doesn’t take long to find it.
- Repent for Bitterness and all its branches.
- Repent for the idol. Recognize some of the key strongholds that keep you angry. Let God fill those places with His love, acceptance, presence and healing power.
- Forgive specifically.
Take a moment to forgive, but don’t forgive in general. That usually does not produce strong fruit. There is a big difference between saying, “I forgive you dad” and “I forgive you dad for being an alcoholic and making me feel afraid of you when I was around you. I forgive you for yelling at me and wounding me.”
Forgiving specifically now engages the heart in forgiveness. This is what truly pushes the enemy back and allows God to have more room in our hearts to bring transformation.
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