He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Have you ever noticed that the more spiritually mature followers of Christ tend to exemplify today’s verse? They tend to have a very calm demeanor and are not easily upset. They do get angry from time to time, but their anger rests firmly on top of God’s heart for justice and it never rules over them. And while they may not be the most successful person in the room…or command the biggest number of people…they occupy a place of great respect and authority.
Samson was a mighty man – physically – but he did not “rule his spirit” at all when it came to his anger…or other, more dangerous passions. In the end, though he did many might acts of valor, he was overcome and bested by the scheming of a woman who knew he lacked control over his spirit and easily took advantage of it. Great fighters know how to get their opponents angry, because then they will no longer be controlled by their mind or a sound strategy…but by their rage. Once they have lost control of their emotions, the more self-controlled boxer finds his opening and easily knocks them out.
The world today feeds on an endless supply of rants, attacks, provocative tweets, and inflammatory posts…and the better you are at stirring the pot, the more “friends” and “likes” you get. Your anger and lack of restraint may build a mighty following, but your efforts will not receive God’s blessing and will eventually lead to your destruction in one way of another. On the other hand, if you are slow to anger and rule over your spirit, God’s hand will be upon you and He will exalt you and use you above the mighty and victorious people the world tends to look up to. As the great A.B. Simpson once said:
“Temperance is true self-government. It involves the grace of self-denial and the spirit of a sound mind. It is that poise of spirit that holds us quiet, self-possessed, composed, deliberate and subject to the voice of God and the conviction of duty in every step we take.”