Easily Provoked

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

Ecclesiastes 7:9

God leads us into good times and bad times. Both can serve God’s purpose in helping us grow. This does not mean God causes our suffering, nor that something good will always come from every bad situation. But sometimes our bad times can be used by God for our greater good, if only we’ll pay attention.

If we get annoyed or angry too quickly, we’re not likely to consider that what seems like a bad time to us might just be a hard but important lesson for our personal growth.

What provokes you? Home­work? Rules? Traffic jams? Having to wait in line? Having to work hard? Not getting a promotion? Not winning a game? It’s easy to get annoyed when things don’t go our way or we don’t get what we want. But how often do we see these kinds of things as learning opportunities?

Working on being less easily annoyed by a learning opportunity can give us a great start on this virtue. It can help to apply problem-solving skills as well, preparing us to move on to harder situations. And in cases where someone is actually at fault for a problem in our lives, this can help us handle the problem in a constructive way—even if it’s necessary to apply consequences.

Anger is a powerful tool. When it’s used too quickly, it tends to cause more harm than good. God is slow to anger, and we do well to follow his example.

God, thank you for not quickly getting angry with us. Help us to be slow to be provoked as well. Amen.

Bible References

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

Psalm 19

19 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

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