Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Anger is Against God. My anger feels like it is justified and it feels like it is directed toward those who deserve it. At times, it may even feel like God is on my side in my anger. But my sinful anger (rarely do we express righteous anger - anger that is focused on God's glory) is first and most importantly against God!
Our blindness is revealed here once again. We are blind to our anger, and we are blind to the way our anger speaks messages about God. Our selfish desires are typically at the root of our anger and our allowing these desires to rule in our life says something significant about our relationship with God.
James 4:1-4 indicates that our desires are the root cause of our anger and conflict. This behavior and response aligns us with the world and as a results aligns us in opposition to and as the enemy of God. We could also say that, in our anger and self-focused desires, we view God and act as though God is our enemy. Let that sink in for a moment. In our anger, we are declaring war on God as well as those around us! Our anger is directed at others, but it is primarily directed at God.
James further describes this angry pursuit of self-centered desires as having an adulterous affair with the world. This is strong language to help us understand the seriousness of our self-centered desires. We ask, "What's wrong with wanting some rest, respect, a few things to go my way, recognition, happiness, etc." as though these are innocent wants in our life. Our anger and conflict reveal these things have now taken the place of God indicating a worship problem. When we replace God as preeminent, we will never be satisfied. It is a BIG problem! We want what we want and we do not want Him! In my anger I turn from God who, ironically, is the only One who can truly satisfy my deepest desires removing the root cause of my anger. We are truly blind and silly in our anger.
Thankfully, James also informs us that while we are in our selfish pursuits, God is jealous for us as His adulterous bride, and He woos us back to Him with the promise of drawing close to us if we will humble ourselves and draw near to Him admitting and turning from our idolatrous pursuits. What an amazing and faithful God.