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Character development is said to be the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. During the next hour, we will explore both our privilege and our responsibility to become Christ-like in character. Join us now for this powerful time of personal renewal as Pastor Stephen Wallace takes us “From Glory to Glory.”

Thank you for staying by. I appreciate the privilege of continuing our study on the law of reciprocal influence; and what is the law of reciprocal influence? It’s the two-way influence between our thoughts and feelings… And what’s thoughts and feelings combined? Character, …and our words and actions. {5T 310.1} What we do – mental output – has a direct effect upon the thoughts and feelings that initiated them, the words and actions. They are established; they are strengthened and encouraged in the acting out. That is a law: it works whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, no matter who you are. Every time you verbalize something you reinforce the thoughts that you express in so doing. Please understand that. Every time you act something out on the level of behavior, you reinforce the impulses, the thoughts, the desires that initiated that act – you reinforce them. They’re strengthened by the law of reciprocal influence.

Now, though this law holds true with all of our behavior, we are particularly focusing our study on the behavior of the most active member of the body, the tongue, and the works of the tongue, which are better known as our words. We all recognize that our thoughts and feelings directly determine the words. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” {Mat 12:34} But what so many of us fail to understand is that our words in turn directly and dramatically influence our thoughts and feelings, strengthening and reinforcing whatever thoughts and feelings gave utterance to those words. Now, that’s the principle.

What we are seeking to do is make practical application of that principle. What we are seeking to do is note specific injunctions in Scripture regarding what we should not say and what we should say, and we are, hopefully, going to be more powerfully motivated to heed those specific injunctions understanding the principle behind them. The reason, bless your hearts, it’s so important not to give utterance to that which is foolish, or that which is filthy, is because if we do, by law we make ourselves in character more, what? Filthy and foolish. When you understand that principle, you see, you have a stronger motivation to honor the dos and the don’ts. Don’t you? That’s all the further we got; we ran out of time.

But I want to consider with you a couple of other specific injunctions regarding what we shouldn’t say and then, then I want to consider with you how absolutely crucial it is to honor this law if we are going to conquer our temper. If we are going to conquer our, what? …our temper; and bless your hearts, some of you have a real challenging battle in this area. I want you to understand how absolutely imperative it is to honor this law of reciprocal influence if you are ever going to get control of your temper. That’s our objective for this last study today. It’s a lot to cover, and we’re going to have to pray for special efficiency, and I’m going to be moving quite quickly with you; but you pray that the Lord will give me that efficiency, and you pray that the Lord will give you the capacity to understand what we are studying and not only understand it, but appreciate it and choose to apply it to the life. Otherwise it’s not going to be a blessing to be here, and I want with all of my heart for it to be a blessing for everyone – to have studied God’s Word this afternoon. So let’s ask that the Holy Spirit will give us that blessing. You pray for me; I’ll pray for you, as we pray for ourselves.

My Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus Christ, I come again with confidence, rejoicing in the privilege of access to Your infinitely righteous throne. It’s so good to know that we are accepted in the Beloved, and that You choose to see us, not as we are in ourselves, but as we are in Jesus, and You thereby receive us as fully and as freely as You do Your own Son… Amazing grace. Jesus, Thank You for representing us to the Father. Father, I praise You for the opportunity to study again during these holy hours of the Sabbath day, Your holy Word. But Father, what we’ve simply got to have is the Holy Spirit, otherwise it won’t be a life-changing experience. It can’t be a blessing. So please, bless us with the Spirit of Truth, me especially as I lead out in the study of Your Word, but each one as they study with me. Give us that spiritual discernment that enables us not only to rightly divide the Word of Truth, but to rightly understand it, rightly value it and rightly relate to it, that we might experience the transforming power of the truth in our lives. That’s our desire, Father, we want to be more like Jesus, more like Him who is the Truth. So by the Spirit of Truth, in the study of the truth, make that possible is my prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What page are we on, class? Help me. 75, page 75. Well, we got to 76, I think. 76. Let’s move on to something else that specifically Scripture forbids us to give utterance to. The first thing we came to recognize is that we are forbidden to give utterance to anything that is filthy or anything that is foolish. Now, recognize with me that we are forbidden to give utterance to anything other than the truth simply and plainly stated. We are forbidden to give utterance to anything other than the truth simply and plainly stated. Now this is crucial; please understand it with me. Jesus puts it this way in Matthew 5:37, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.'” In other words, say exactly what you mean and mean what you say. Please know “yes, yes,” “no, no” – but no “yes-no.”

Do we tend to come up with “yes-no” answers? Yes, we do. What’s a “yes-no” answer? Well, that’s enough truth to convince ourselves we’re telling the truth, but enough falsehood to get ourselves out of an embarrassing situation. That’s the mixture of truth with falsehood. My dear friends, that’s from the evil one. Are you following this? You see, the devil is a very skilled mixer of truth and falsehood. That’s what he specializes in. Whenever we go that route, we are speaking that which is satanic: a mixture of truth and error. Please be careful with “yes-no” answers. Tell the truth and only the truth, even if it’ll cost you something. This is also forbidding anything other than plain proclamation, expression of truth.

We tend to have this obsession to embellish our stories, don’t we? It’s called exaggeration… to add a little, you know, trimmings to make it more sensational. You know what I’m talking about. My dear friends, this command forbids that. There’s something else that we are prone to do and that is to decorate our language with expletives, meaningless expressions that are, we think, necessary to make what we say more impressive. This forbids that as well. Listen: Education, page 236: “God’s Word condemns also the use of those meaningless phrases and expletives that border on profanity. It condemns the deceptive complements, the evasions of truth, the exaggerations, the misrepresentations in trade, that are current in society and in the business world. Let your speech be Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one.” But do you see what that forbids? That forbids a lot more than we had previously recognized in just reading that verse. It condemns and forbids the use of, what? “Meaningless phrases and expletives that border on profanity,” “deceptive compliments,” “evasions of truth,” “exaggeration,” “misrepresentations in trade.”

When you’re trying to sell that car that you cannot tolerate any more because of all the things that are going wrong with it, how do you present it to the prospective buyer? See, this is the kind of thing we’re talking about. Do you really tell him what’s wrong with it? Or do you paint a very unrealistic picture so that you can get him to buy it? This is the kind of thing we’re talking about.

But what I’ve got to bring your attention back to is that first thing that God’s Word condemns, and that is the use of meaningless phrases and expletives that border on profanity. Bless your hearts, I’ve got a burden here, please hear me out. We used to be known as a people who never used profanity, but you know, that’s changing, and it has changed very gradually and incrementally. How did it happen? It happened by using meaningless phrases that border on profanity, which softened us up and got us comfortable until finally some of us are actually using profanity. What are meaningless phrases that border on profanity? You know, I’m uncomfortable illustrating but I’ve got to be understood here, so I’m going to. A meaningless phrase that borders on profanity is the expression “Gee.” “Gee.” Look it up in the dictionary. Definition: “Euphemistic shortening of Jesus;” that’s what “gee” is, a euphemistic shortening of, what? Jesus. The dictionary will tell you that.

“Euphemistic,” what does euphemistic mean? A euphemism is a word that people use in place of a more inappropriate term.

Had you noticed in society you used to hear “gee,” and then it kind of evolved to “geez,” and now it’s, what? It’s “Jesus.” You hear it, and I cringe every time I do. Very gradually using borderline profanity, Satan led us to full-fledged profanity. Another example: “Gosh.” “Golly.” Look them up. Euphemistic variants for God. Dictionary, dictionary. Here’s another one. “Oh, my word.” Bless your hearts, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” {Jn 1:1} “and the Word became flesh.” {Jn 1:14} When you say, “Oh, my Word,” whose name are you using? The name of Jesus. Please know that. “Oh, my goodness.” Who alone is good? Only God is good. {Mat 19:17} If you have any goodness at all, it’s God. Bless your hearts, before you too quickly write me off as being fanatical and radical here, please realize that the angels whenever they take the name of God on their lips, what do they do? They veil their faces and bow their heads and utter it with utmost reverence. {Ed 243.5} My dear friends, I’m here to tell you this afternoon, that if we hope to spend eternity in that kind of company, we’ve got to cultivate that kind of reverence for the name of God. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} It happens to be one of the Ten Commandments. {Ex 20:7} This is not something just incidental. It is crucial to reverence the name of God. Please think seriously on this. Please ask Him to help you identify any meaningless phrases that are currently in your vocabulary that border on profanity, and for the love of Christ, start to weed them out, please. Start to weed them out, and in so doing, you will greatly aid yourself in cultivating a profound reverence for the Holy God of the universe.

You will find that renewed sensitivity to the reverence of God influencing your behavior when you come into His house. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} See, this is all closely related, and one of the reasons we have become so careless as far as our behavior in God’s house is concerned, is because we have become so irreverent when it comes to the name of God. They are closely related. A word to the wise is sufficient.

What else are we forbidden to give utterance to? Titus 3:2. My dear friends, we are forbidden to speak evil of anyone. Did you hear what we said? Let’s read it. “…to speak evil of no one.” Who does that cover? Everybody. “…to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.” You see, we are forbidden here to be involved in fault-finding, evil-speaking, criticizing, back-biting, gossiping. They’re all forbidden here. Are you all with me on this? My friends, I’ve got to tell you that this is a serious problem amongst us as a people: criticizing, fault-finding, evil-speaking; and it is inevitably such when we are in a self-righteous, legalistic experience. Why? Because those who are self-righteous have to bolster themselves up by tearing others down. That’s why always wherever there is a self-righteousness, there is a spirit of criticizing and fault-finding. Because if you are going to convince yourself that you are righteous, you have got to do so by pointing out that everyone else isn’t performing nearly as well as you are. You’ve got to focus on and expose their problems.

Whereas if you’ve come to the cross and received the undeserved infinite merciful provision of forgiveness by the blood of Christ and you are accepted not on the basis of what you are in yourself, but on the basis of what you are in Christ, you will offer that same forgiveness and acceptance to everyone else. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} You will be very, very patient with them because you know God has been very, very patient with you. You see, we inevitably treat others the way we think God treats us. If we think that God doesn’t accept us, except we behave up to His standard, then we won’t accept others unless they behave up to our standard. But if we recognize that God graciously credits to us the perfect behavior of His Son, and accepts us on the basis of that and then in love and patience teaches us how to behave more and more like Him every day, we will offer that same gift of acceptance to others and be very patient with them as they learn how to live a Christ-like life. Criticizing, fault-finding, my dear friends, it is a curse, it is a plague in this beloved church. I beg of you, please, if you’re involved in it, by God’s grace, cease. By God’s grace, cease. Bible Commentary, Volume 5, page 1093: “Cease to dwell upon the shortcomings of others. Keep the tongue sanctified unto God. Refrain from saying anything that might detract from the influence of another; for by indulging in these words of criticism, you blaspheme God’s holy name as verily as you would were you to swear…” You know, I know a whole lot of self-righteous Seventh-day Adventists who would not ever actually take God’s name in vain. They wouldn’t swear, and yet, daily they blaspheme God’s name by criticizing and fault-finding.

How so? Well, my dear friends, if we claim to be Christians, and are criticizing and fault-finding, what are we saying about God? Who is the accuser of the brethren? Satan. {Rev 12:10} If you and I, claiming to be Christians, turn out to be accusers of the brethren, what are we saying about Christ? That He is an accuser of the brethren. We represent Christ when we take His name. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Please don’t take His name in vain, and I’m not talking about swearing; I’m talking about claiming to be a Christian while being an accuser of the brethren. That’s taking His name in vain. Are you hearing me, dear friends?

From Sermons and Talks, page 367: “We may make mistakes, and we may have to ‘admonish one another.'” {Rom 15:14} “We may have to,” what? “…admonish one another.” Is there a difference between lovingly admonishing a brother or a sister and criticizing and fault-finding behind their back? There’s all the difference in the world. One is the way Christ would relate to mistakes, the other is the way Satan would relate to mistakes. “We may make mistakes, and we may have to ‘admonish one another.’ But there has come into the churches… a spirit of backbiting, of fault-finding, and evil-speaking, which demonstrates that you are not converted. Words are uttered that never should pass the lips of a Christian. My brethren and sisters, when you have nothing better to speak of than something about the faults of others, remember that ‘silence is eloquence.'” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} “Speak evil of no one.” {Ti 3:2} If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all, please.

Not only to avoid the damage that what you say does to others, but please recognize that you need to avoid the damage of what you say as far as its effect on you by the law of reciprocal influence. You see if you are criticizing and fault-finding, by what two principles are you busily developing those very faults in yourself? First of all, what are you focused on? You’re focused on their problems, and in beholding you’re what? Come on, you’re what? You’re changed. Then by the second law, the law of reciprocal influence, in talking about those problems, what are you doing? You are strengthening and encouraging them in yourself. To criticize and fault-find is the very best way to develop all the faults that you’re focused on and talking about in everyone else. In yourself! Forgive me for getting worked up on this, but my dear friends, we do so much damage to ourselves by criticizing and fault-finding. We wreak so much havoc in our home families and in our church families on account of this. God help us change. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen}

Ministry of Healing, page 492. Here’s a statement that you need to write on a card – one of those 5 x 7 cards, or 4 x 8 cards or whatever – and put it on the refrigerator with one of those magnets. Or put it on your mirror in the bathroom so that you see it and have to read it every day! Listen to it! This is the solution the criticizing and fault-finding that is such a plague amongst us as a people. Here it is. Ministry of Healing, page 492: “Cultivate the habit of speaking well of others.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} “Cultivate the habit of,” what? “…speaking well of others. Dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate,” Pause. If you’re going to talk about the positive things in others, you’ve got to be, what? Dwelling upon them. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” {Mat 12:34} Look for those good qualities, dwell on them, and then you can, what? Talk about them. Back to the statement: “Cultivate the habit of speaking well of others. Dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate, and see as little as possible of their errors and failings.” Do I hear an “amen”? “When tempted to complain of what someone has said or done, praise something in that person’s life or character.”

My friends, if we would just do that, can you imagine how much peace and harmony and happiness there would be in our homes and in our churches? Can you imagine? God help us use the law rather than abuse it. Amen? {Amen} You see, if you’re looking for virtues in others, what are you beholding? Virtues, and if you’re talking about those virtues, by those same two principles that are working against you if you’re criticizing and fault-finding, now, you are being, what? Blessed and advantaged, because you’re beholding the positive and you’re talking about the positive; and you’re not only spreading peace and happiness, but you are helping yourself develop Christ-like virtues. Do you see how this works? Can I get some response? Do you se how it works? Do you understand what we’re explaining here? Okay, now, moving on quickly.

How does this law of reciprocal influence apply to overcoming temper? It applies very directly. Please understand this. Please understand this. James 1:19-20, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be,” what? “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” What does the wrath of man produce? More of the wrath of man. It makes you angrier and angrier. But please notice, please notice, before we are told to be “slow to wrath,” we are told to be, what? “…slow to speak.” Is that significant? It is profoundly significant. It is profoundly significant. My dear friends, the only way we can be slow to wrath is to learn to be slow to speak. In fact, the only way we can keep from being wrathful at all is to learn to keep from expressing any angry words, on account of the law of, what? …reciprocal influence. And by the way, what comes first? Swift to hear. You know, so many times we get angry simply because we haven’t really understood what was involved in a given situation. If we would just not let ourselves react impulsively, if we would take time to get all the facts, we would probably not get angry at all. Be swift to hear, but be slow to speak, and if you’re slow to speak, you will be slow to wrath.

Now, Proverbs 15:18; no, Child Guidance, page 95: “The speaking of an angry word is like flint striking flint: it at once kindles wrathful feelings.” What does speaking an angry word do? It kindles wrathful feelings. Now, I would guess that most of you thought it kindles wrathful feelings in others. Right? That’s typically the way we think. But by the law of reciprocal influence, if we speak a wrathful word, who will it inevitably kindle more wrathful feelings in? Ourselves, bless your hearts! If you speak an angry word, by the law of reciprocal influence, you will make yourself angrier. This is precisely where we lose it when it comes to controlling temper. Did you hear what I just said? This is precisely where we lose the battle when it comes to controlling temper. We lose the battle by allowing the tongue to verbalize our angry feelings; and instantly, you verbalize them and you strengthen them. Then you verbalize them more, and in verbalizing them more you, what? Strengthen them more, until you get into vicious cycle and you completely lose control.

Adventist Home, page 437: “We must subdue a hasty temper and control our words.” Please notice, what is linked together? Subduing a hasty temper and, what? Controlling our words, they are inseparable, and you’ll see that over and over again as we proceed with this study. “We must subdue a hasty temper and control our words, and in this we shall gain great victories. Unless we control our words and,” what? “…temper,” – there they are again – “…we are slaves to Satan.” Dear friends who have an uncontrolled temper, please recognize the frightening situation and condition you are in. “Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan.” Reading on: “We are in subjection to him. He leads us captive. All jangling and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any sacrifice we can make for God; for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness.” My dear friends, please, please, understand that if you have a temper problem, by God’s grace, you have got to gain the victory over it. How so? How so?

Testimonies, Volume 2, page 78: “You have an unsubdued temper, and do not control your tongue.” What do you see joined here again? The two. “The lack of self-control has been a great injury to yourself and to your family. Happiness, quietude, and peace have abode in your dwelling but a short period at a time. If your will is crossed you are easily irritated, and then you speak and act as though a demon had possession of you. Angels turn from the scene of discord where angry words are exchanged. Many times have you driven the precious, heavenly angels from your family by the indulgence of passion.” I want to share those statements with you because I want you to see, my dear friends, how terribly damaging a temper tantrum is. It is extremely damaging, not only to the health and well-being of anyone who is living with you, but especially to your own health and well-being. Please understand that it not only prevents you from enjoying life here, it’ll prevent you from enjoying life hereafter. General Conference Bulletin, 1903, page 89: “Remember that if…, if you speak cross words to fellow church members [or family members], you would speak the same kind of words in heaven, were you permitted to enter there. But you never will be unless you change.” That’s pretty clear. See, “Without holiness, no man shall see God.” {Heb 12:14} God is not going to take anyone to heaven who hasn’t gained full victory over his or her temper, because they would jeopardize the happiness of heaven. Are you hearing what I’m telling you?

Okay, how then? How can we gain control over our tempers? It’s a battle; it’s an intense battle, but my dear friends, as we learn to fight and win in the strength of Jesus Christ, it is a battle that will bring precious, precious victories. Proverbs 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” You see it takes, it takes a real battle to conquer a city, but those who conquer their temper are even greater than someone who conquers a city. That’s what the wise man is telling us here. You know, some of you, bless your hearts, you have a particularly challenging battle on your hands, difficult battle on your hands because of your inheritance. Temper is often received as an inheritance. “Visiting the iniquities of the fathers unto the children unto the third and fourth generation.” {Ex 20:5} My heart goes out to those of you who have inherited a very out of control temper. You have a more intense battle on your hands than others. But I want to encourage you that no matter what your inherited tendencies are in this area, Christ’s grace is sufficient to enable you to overcome. {2 Cor 12:9} {Amen} You will have a more intense battle on your hands than others who haven’t had that same inheritance in this area.

There are a lot of people who fight and win this battle and most of us are totally unaware of what… What intensive love-motivated, Spirit-empowered effort is required to gain that victory and maintain that victory, but I promise you that God knows; God knows. Listen to this remarkable statement, Adventist Home, page 443: “God looks into every secret thing of life. By some a constant battle is maintained for self-control. Daily they strive silently and prayerfully against harshness of speech and temper. These strivings may never be appreciated by human beings. They may get no praise from human lips for keeping back the hasty words, which sought for utterance. The world will never see these conquests, and if it could, it would only despise the conquerors. But in heaven’s record they are registered as overcomers. There is One who witnesses every secret combat and every silent victory, and He says, ‘He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.'” {Prov 16:32}

My dear friends, I want to take you back, though, to something that was stated in the middle of that paragraph, that gives us the secret to victory over a temper. Did you notice it? “They may get no praise from human lips for keeping back the hasty words which sought for utterance.” There you have the secret for victory. “Keeping back the,” what? “…the hasty words which sought for utterance.” My friends, what is the secret for controlling the temper? It is controlling the tongue. It is what? …controlling the tongue.

You know, Jesus is our example in all things, isn’t He? Did Jesus have a human nature? Yes, He did. Did He have the capacity, as a human, to get angry on account of the way He was being treated? Did He have that capacity? You better believe He did. Did He have to go through irritating, aggravating circumstances and experiences in His life? Did He? Like none of us have ever gone through or, praise God, will ever have to go through. Consider the incredibly aggravating and irritating circumstances of the closing hours of His earthly life. You know, as I contemplated Christ under such incredibly aggravating circumstances I was always amazed at how He could remain in control of His feelings. Amazed! I couldn’t understand how He could do it, until the Lord finally let me know His secret. Do you know what His secret was? It’s found in Isaiah 53:7. Here it is: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He,” what? “…He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” Now what has Isaiah told us three times? That Jesus didn’t say a thing. He used the same expression twice, “He opened not His mouth,” but in between, what did he say? He was silent. Now, my dear friends, when Scripture repeats something, it’s because it’s very important. Please note that. When Scripture repeats something, it’s because it’s, what? It’s very important, and here Scripture has repeated three times that Jesus didn’t say a thing; and here you have the secret of His victory under incredibly irritating and aggravating circumstances. He didn’t open His mouth. Are we all together?

Signs of the Times, February 18, 1903: “As Satan failed utterly in his attempt to cause Christ to sin, so he will fail of overcoming us, if we will act sensibly.” Now, what’s involved in acting sensibly? Listen closely: “Let us firmly resolve…” Let us, what? “…firmly resolve.” How do you firmly resolve? You make a decision with your will. “Let us firmly resolve that when the enemy tempts us to speak hastily, feeling that we are treated unjustly or are misunderstood, we will not open our lips.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} “If… If we should speak even one word in reply, the enemy would be almost sure to gain the victory. We must learn the lesson of silence. With tongues bridled, we may be victorious in every trial of patience through which we are called to pass.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} There you have it; that’s the secret. How can we successfully pass through every trial that tests our patience? Our tongues must be, what? …bridled. We must learn to zip the lip. Amen? Bite the tongue, whatever it takes. Don’t speak a word when your feelings are stirred up, because the moment you give expression to those stirred up feelings, what, by law, do you do? You strengthen them and you lose control. One word! That’s all you’ve got to do. One word! And you’ll lose control. We can control the tongue, but only in the strength of Jesus Christ.

That’s why, especially if we have challenges in this area of losing our temper, we’ve got to make this prayer of David’s our own. Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Dear friend, if you are struggling in this battle against temper, please recognize that you have got to learn to refuse from giving utterance to a single word under provoking, irritating circumstances; and please know that you can only do that by praying this prayer: “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” {Ps 141:3} Please know as well, that the best way to control what comes out of your mouth is to govern what goes on in your heart. After all, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth,” what? “…speaketh.” {Mat 12:34} So ask God not only to set a guard over your mouth, but ask Him to help you govern your thoughts and feelings, and bring them captive to Him {2 Cor 10:5}, and that’s where this next text comes in, Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he,” what? “…he trusts in You.” “He trusts in You.” You see, I want to challenge you, dear friends, to trust in the Lord, and to know that He is able to keep you from falling {Jude 1:24}, to know that He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide a, what? …a way of escape. {1 Cor 10:13} When you are in an irritating circumstance, trust Him.

Know that He will enable you to overcome it, and learn to recognize the blessing in the trial. {ST, Aug 21, 1893 par. 5} Did you hear what I just said? Learn to recognize the, what? The blessing in the trial, as you meet it and conquer it in His strength. You remember our study on James and temptation? {L28, p. 2} He said, blessed are you… “blessed is the man who,” what? “…endureth temptation,” endures trial. {Jas 1:12} So please teach yourself to actually thank God for irritating circumstances because they are giving you an opportunity to learn to govern your temper. {GW92 133.2} Thank Him that in His strength you can make this experience a blessing by learning to have His peace supernaturally govern your feelings, and have His power supernaturally govern your tongue, and with His peace and His power, you can control your temper. Are you with me? You can, you must, control your temper, my dear friends. Reflecting Christ, page 293: “In his own strength man cannot rule his spirit. But through Christ he may gain self-control. In His strength he may bring his thoughts and words” – thoughts and words – “…into subjection to the will of God. The religion of Christ brings the emotions under the control of reason and disciplines the tongue. Under its influence the hasty temper is subdued and the heart is filled with patience and gentleness.” That’s victory over temper. Do I hear an “amen”? That’s victory, and my dear friends, you can have that victory.

Now, quickly, work with me: I want to give you an “M.O.” for dealing with angry, irritated, emotions. An “M.O.,” what’s an “M.O.”? A modus operandi, to use the Latin term. It means mode of operation, a method of operation. Here’s an M.O. and it works because it is an application of this law of reciprocal influence. Okay? Note it, please. When you discover that you have riled up feelings because of some irritating circumstance you’re involved in. Now ideally what you should have done would be to instantly repulse those feelings and cry out for God to give you that peace that passeth understanding. {Phil 4:7} Trust in Him and believe His promise, “I will keep him in perfect,” what? “…peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” {Is 26:3} That’s the ideal. But if you haven’t done that, and if you find your feelings all riled up, then please, please, here’s the M.O.:

Number one: Don’t express. Number One: Don’t, what? …express. Don’t verbalize even a single word, because if you do, what will happen? You’ll lose it; you’ll lose control. By the law of reciprocal influence, those feelings will be strengthened and encouraged and you will lose control. So don’t express. Number one, don’t, what? …express.

But number two: Don’t just repress. Don’t just, what? …repress. Yes, bite the tongue, but if that’s all you do, if you just refuse to express, if you only repress, what’s going to happen sooner or later? Come on, what’s going to happen? It’s going to just increase in pressure until suddenly something breaks the seal of the pressure cooker, and out comes a horrific display of temper. Are you following this? So you might be saying, “Well, wait a minute, what’s the option if we’re not to express and we’re not to just repress?” Yes, repress, but don’t just repress.

What’s step three? Confess. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Confess. Some of you might be saying, “Well, wait a minute, I don’t have anything to confess, I haven’t said anything yet.” If you responded that way, it’s because you haven’t been studying with us this week. Remember, my dear friends, when we indulge and allow wrong thoughts or feelings to remain in the mind, we have, in God’s eyes, what? Come on, what have we done? We’ve sinned. We’ve got the embryo of sin in the womb of the mind, to use that other analogy that we used when we dealt with James’ passage. {L29, p. 3} Okay? So if the wrong feelings have broken past the barrier, the first ideal barrier of instant repulsion by a sanctified will, and if we have indulged them and allowed them to remain, and been strengthened in our minds, my dear friends, let’s recognize that we have something that must be confessed. We have sinned. Jesus makes this very clear, and we’ve noted this earlier so I can’t take the time to do it now. It’s found in Matthew 5:22. Let me just read quickly out of the New Living Translation, very interesting translation that’s relatively new. “But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!” You see, they’ve dropped out that… that little clause in there that we talked about earlier. Please know, “If you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment.” {Mat 5:22} Jesus is talking about the law that says, “Thou shalt not kill,” {Ex 20:13} and He’s making it very clear that you can transgress that law by simply being, what? …angry. So if you have only had feelings of anger, you have transgressed the law and you’ve got something to confess.

Here’s another statement. Child Guidance, page 95: Well, let’s do 1 John 3:15 first: “Whoever hates his brother is a,” what? “…murderer.” You don’t have to pull the trigger, plunge the knife. You don’t even have to punch him out. You don’t even have to curse him. If you just hate him, you’re guilty, and you must, what? Confess. Child Guidance, page 95: “Never should we lose control of ourselves. Let us ever keep before us the perfect Pattern. It is a sin to speak impatiently and fretfully or to feel angry – even though we do not speak.” That’s Biblical. It’s a sin to, what? Feel angry even if we do not speak. So just because you’re able to bite the tongue, and not express, it doesn’t mean you haven’t sinned. Are you following this? Now if you express it, your sin increases. That’s why Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever is angry with his brother is guilty. Whoever says…” How does the New Living say, “If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” {Mat 5:22 NLT} You see, the more strongly and overtly we express the anger, the guiltier we get. But the point is that we are guilty of having sinned, even if we only have feelings of anger within our hearts. Are you following this? That’s important to recognize, my dear friends, because we cannot be released from anger except by confessing it as a sin and receiving forgiveness for it. Are you hearing what I’m telling you? This is why we dare not just repress. We’ve got to, what? Confess; and if we confess, what will God do? “If we confess our sins, He’s,” what? “…faithful and just to forgive us and,” what else? “…cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” {1 Jn 1:9} That is, my dear friends, your safe catharsis. It’s your, what? …safe catharsis. You can take it to the Lord in prayer, and receive release.

There is an unsafe catharsis, and that’s to express it in the state of anger, and you will most assuredly reinforce it if you do that. Please, don’t express; don’t just repress, but, what? Confess. Confess it as far and wide as the knowledge of it, and go with a humble spirit. There’s beautiful statement here I’ve got to share. Review and Herald, December 16, 1884: “If there have been difficulties brethren and sisters.” “If there have been difficulties brethren and sisters – if envy, malice, bitterness, evil surmisings, have existed, confess these things, not in a general way, but go to your brethren and sisters personally. Be definite. If you have committed one wrong and they twenty, confess that one as though you were the chief offender. Take them by the hand, let your heart soften under the influence of the Spirit of God and say, ‘Will you forgive me? I have not felt right toward you. I want to make right every wrong, that naught may stand registered against me in the books of heaven. I must have a clean record.'” {Rev 20:12} I’d love to expound on that, but we don’t have the time. My dear sisters, brothers, please, what’s the M.O.? Don’t express. Don’t just repress. Confess, and then, what?

Then assess. Then assess, but not until then. Assess: evaluate the situation. Discuss it with the person that you’ve had the problem with. Learn from your mistake so that you don’t have to make it again. But please don’t try to assess until you have first, what? …confessed. If you try to assess without first confessing, you will only get into trench warfare. Are you hearing me? “I wouldn’t have said that if you hadn’t done this.” “Well, I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t done this.” And we get into trench warfare. Confess, acknowledge you’re wrong, receive forgiveness and then you’re free from that horrific burden to justify yourself because you’ve already been forgiven. Does that make sense?

Then, what is the last thing? Profess. Profess your faith and love in God and your appreciation for the person you have wronged. Ministry of Healing, page 492, that powerful statement again: “Cultivate the habit of speaking well of others. Dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate, and see as little as possible of their errors and failings. When tempted to complain of what someone has said or done, praise something in that person’s life or character. ” Brothers and sisters, as we do that, as we use the law, we will be tremendously blessed. Amen? {Amen} Let’s stand for prayer.

Father God, please teach us to use this law, especially when it comes to gaining victory over our tempers. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. God bless you; thank you so much.


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