Faith and Family

Don’t let irritations build up

By Lynn Jones

The sun began its slow journey northward last December. It reached the northern limits of its journey on June 21. That day of the sun’s northernmost advance, the summer solstice, is our longest day of the year. Since then, our time of daylight each day has slowly begun to shorten. 

You would expect that June 21, the longest day of the year, would be our hottest day since we have more hours of sunshine that day. But that is not the case. Our hottest days of the summer generally come in July or August.

Lynn Jones

Why is that so? The reason is that there is a slow build-up of heat during the summer. It is the cumulative effect of many days of longer sunshine that causes our hemisphere to become like a pressure cooker that gradually collects the heat.

The same is true on any given day. The hottest time of the day is not at noon when the sun is the highest. It is in the afternoon when the heat of the day has been compounded by more hours of heating.

Sometimes it is like that in life. Anger, irritation, and frustration tend to build up in our lives. Often it is not a single big incident that pushes us to the boiling point. It is the cumulative effect of many irritating events. If we allow these to collect and do not process them as they occur, then they may push our emotional temperatures to all-time highs.

Collecting is a popular hobby. People collect all kinds of things. They collect stamps, coins, autographs, and baseball cards. Unfortunately, some also collect resentments, grudges, and old scores not settled. When this collection reaches large proportions, it can lead to devastating results. Sometimes a collection of irritations can be like a pile of flammable material that can be set ablaze by the spark of a single incident. 

Life can be like a shower where the hot water may be difficult to get started and even harder to turn off. Anger and hatred are like that. 

At this season of the year, on pitching mounds across the nation, pitchers are plying their trade. Major league pitchers can throw fastballs that reach 100 mph. There are some pitchers who can throw that fast who never make the major leagues. The reason why they never make it? They lack control. It doesn’t matter how fast you can throw the ball, if you can’t control it, then you can’t play in the majors.

That’s the way it is in life. You may have great abilities, but unless you have self-control, then you can never be all that God wants you to be.

God can help. Paul said, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Let Him help you! Ask Him for the fruit of self-control.

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at:

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