Proverbs 14:17 says, “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated” (NKJV). We have two types of character in this verse; the man who IMPULSIVELY works evil and the man who PREMEDITATIVELY works evil. The former simply can’t control himself and the latter has self-control and patience. Both men are guilty of sinning; the “quick-tempered man” says and does very foolish things that harm others; the “man of wicked intentions” plans and schemes to get his own way and will step on anyone who gets in his way. The one who loses his temper will be avoided and looked upon as a FOOL, but even worse is the man who purposely uses deceit for personal gain (no matter who he hurts in the process), for he will be HATED.

The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ should never be guilty of either of these sins. Though a believer may have been known as one with a “short fuse” or being “deceptive” before his conversion, he now possesses a “new nature” (which gives him the DESIRE to please God and to obey His Word) and the “Holy Spirit” (which gives him the POWER to control his sinful nature). Romans 7:22 states, “For I delight in the law of God according to the INWARD MAN,” and Galatians 5:16 declares, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” In Galatians 5:19-21 we are reminded of the “works of the flesh” with a terrible list of 17 sins. The TWO SINS we have been considering are mentioned in verse 20: “outbursts of wrath” and “selfish ambitions.” In verses 22-23 we have the “fruit of the Spirit” and we see in that wonderful list that the believer is characterized by “longsuffering” and “self-control” (which prevents us from losing our temper), along with “kindness” and “goodness” (which prevents us from hurting others to better ourselves). If we “walk in the Spirit” we will be characterized by these and we will be a blessing to others. Instead of men looking at us as FOOLS for losing our temper, we will be looked upon as WISE. Proverbs 14:29 tells us, “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding.” And instead of being HATED for using deceit, we will be looked upon as having MERCY and TRUTH. We see this in Proverbs 14:22, “Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.”  May we continually “walk in the Spirit” and thus manifest the “fruit of the Spirit.”  (224.5)  (DO)