Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. —Proverbs 16:32
Have you played the game “Would You Rather”? There are variations, but the general gist is that a question is asked, “Would you rather (A) or (B)?” and each person has to cast their vote as to their preference.
Would you rather eat Skittles or M&Ms? Would you rather have superhuman strength or be invisible? Would you rather always have the hiccups or always have laryngitis?
This week’s Fighter Verse runs along the same lines, but here we are given some insight into which choice we should “rather.”
Here are the two contrasts:
Be slow to anger vs. be mighty.
Rule your spirit vs. take (conquer) a city.
And in each scenario, we might be surprised at the God-revealed “rather.” We should rather have a long wick than to have great strength or power! We should rather have control over our own heart than overthrow an entire mini-kingdom for personal reign!
Why has God given us this surprising insight? For one thing, it runs totally counter to what the world around us says is important. The world says that winning in life means taking control of your own destiny, not letting anyone stand in the way of your dreams, doing whatever it takes to get ahead. Those things are what make “success.”
But God grants us a thoroughly different value scale. He is concerned with a changed heart, not outward, visible victories. And he totally knows the heart of people. Left to ourselves, we are unable to master our anger or control our own spirit. To gain inner victory requires a strength of transformation far, far greater than any outward display of strength or accomplishing of military or political goals.
This week, as you encounter obstacles, face temptations, or feel the sting of criticism, pause for a moment to weigh the options. And when you find that your own inner resources are not enough, lift your eyes to the One who won the victory over sin and death on our behalf and ask for him to give the better thing–his own Spirit and strength.
When you think about a “good day,” does it reflect the value system that is revealed in Proverbs 16:32? How can we recalibrate so that we are valuing what God values?
What are some ways we can seek to grow in the kind of God-enabled inner transformation in greater measure? How does the pursuit of outward, visible success help or hinder growth in the heart?
Are you able to control your anger and your own spirit with your own power? What does the Bible reveal to be essential for this kind of inner transformation to take place?