God feels angry: “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” Psalm 7:11. Since God cannot sin, anger cannot be a sin. It is an important feeling which God gave us at creation. Anger alerts us that something is wrong or hurtful. Problems occur when people act sinfully when angry.
If one of your challenges is temper, it will likely challenge you for the rest of your life. The way you respond to hurtful experiences will impact your character development.
The fruits of the spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Each of these could individually be seen as the opposite of temper. For example, when one is angry, he shows impatience toward others and is often unkind. He is certainly not gentle, and angry actions demonstrate the loss of self-control.
So how does one develop the fruits of the spirit to manage his behavior?
Galatians 5:16-21 talks about “living after the flesh” and having fallen, earthly goals, interests and habits. In contrast, a life “led after the spirit” leads to those beautiful fruits described above.
Living by the spirit means following in Jesus’s footsteps and seeking to do God’s will first and foremost. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33). Again, this is a lifelong battle.
In Romans 7:14-25, Paul explained how sin worked in his life. He shared that even when he knew what was wrong and did not want to do it, he did it anyway. The fallen human is controlled by sin. Paul was not trying to give us the perfect excuse to go on sinning. Instead, he was trying to help us avoid discouragement. Even if you commit yourself to following in our Lord’s footsteps and are genuinely seeking to serve God and follow His ways, you WILL lose your temper again. You can’t turn it off like a switch. When it happens, seek forgiveness from the Lord and also from those you hurt. This can help develop humility, which will be one of the first steps toward the fruits of the spirit. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble…draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:6-8)
God will reward your efforts, but it will take just that: a lot of effort. And you must recognize that the struggle will be lifelong. All Christians struggle with different challenges, but we all need to seek the Lord first and come to Him for forgiveness. This will develop humility, keep us from discouragement, and allow us to eventually be perfected in character.