I once preached a sermon about our need to show love to those closest to us. I spoke about the sinfulness of being easily provoked — and the Holy Spirit convicted me of that very sin in my own life. I have learned that when the Holy Spirit speaks, it pays to listen. I repented immediately and then, after much prayer and seeking God, I was convinced I had victory over that weakness.
I “walked in victory” for about four days when a phone conversation with a close friend unexpectedly ignited anger and indignation in me. I became so bothered that I could hardly stay focused on the Lord and I began to blame the devil for using my friend to hurt me. “God, the devil was using him to provoke me to sin.”
God was not going to let me get away with that attitude and he spoke to me in a still, small voice, “David, you are indulging your flesh. You are letting your past hurts and disappointments control you — and what you are doing is dangerous.”
It hit me that my agitation was not the direct result of that hurtful conversation, it was because I had fallen back into an old habit I thought I had conquered — letting things simmer inside me (See Ephesians 4:26-27). When this realization hit me, I wept before the Lord, “Will I never learn? You gave me this message and I preached it to a large crowd of people, but I haven’t been walking in victory in that area myself.”
I felt like a runner who had fallen in the race and I cried out, “Lord, I want so much to win the prize of being conformed to your likeness (See Romans 8:29). After all these years of walking with you, I still don’t come near the mark. Oh, God, I want to be like Jesus!”
Obey the faithful voice of the Holy Spirit and seek the face of the Lord. You will be amazed at how quickly he will restore you to victory.