Two men named Saul were both known for their anger. One of them, the Old Testament King, allowed anger to compensate for his deep insecurity. At the time of the announcement that he was God's chosen monarch, he couldn't be found; turns out he was hiding among the baggage (1 Samuel 10:22). As he reluctantly took the reigns of government, he overcame his insecurity with a counterfeit solution: anger. Every time he was faced with a challenge he couldn't handle, he had a rage outburst. Ultimately, his anger destroyed him.
The other Saul considered anger an outpouring of his religious zeal. The only problem was that his zeal set him against, rather than for, the plans of God. His anger began to change one day on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), when Jesus Christ appeared to him from heaven. It took a painful discipline, three days of physical blindness, to show Saul just how blind his rage had been. No doubt he spent a part of those days thinking about his own foolishness. I find it interesting that Saul -- now called Paul -- still had to face the harvest of some of that anger as a young follower of Jesus. It was primarily his "righteous indignation" that caused the separation between him and Barnabas just before his second missionary journey (Acts 15). Paul 's later writings demonstrate the maturity that came from his identity in Christ, maturity that brought his anger under control.
When you compare the two men named Saul, they present a life lesson on anger danger. Like all of us, they were people whose lives held great potential for good. Through the lens of history, though, one of them became known for changing the world while the other is remembered for not being able to change himself. One of them conquered giants of false religion while the other withered before a single giant named Goliath.
God designed you and me to face giants. We will never see the big ones fall if we can't deal with the small inside us. What giant is holding you back?
Facing Your Giants is our topic this weekend at Stone Ridge Church. Can't join us? Catch the podcast!