Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, February 15 - Avoid Frustration Fouls

“‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” — Ephesians 4:26-27

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In basketball, there’s a phenomenon many commentators like to call “frustration fouls.”

They happen when a player has missed a lot of shots he or she usually makes, when a player has just committed a turnover, when a player didn’t come up with a loose ball, or any other scenario that results in frustration. The frustrated player then commits a needless, often ticky-tack, foul. Caught up in the emotion of the moment, the player lets unalterable past events dictate actions in the present, and these actions hurt him or herself and the entire team as well.

I think there’s a lesson we can learn from these “frustration fouls” that applies to our journey with Jesus.

Frustration is a type of anger produced by a specific set of undesirable circumstances. The Bible speaks often of avoiding anger, “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20). So often, feelings of anger and frustration trigger sinful responses in the sinful heart of every person, and in this way, stewing in those emotions “give[s] the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27).

We might slam our hands on the table, insult a friend or even use a word we shouldn’t. All of these reactions can happen when we let our frustration overwhelm us.

But this does not have to be the case. Christ is the Light of the world, and when you and I behold that Light, we see clearly. We see clearly the triviality of temporary circumstances compared to eternity with God. We see clearly God’s constant goodness to us. We see clearly what the frustration rising up can cause: sin against God. What’s more, God promises to be our strength so we can endure frustration in a Godly way when it does come.

So, when you hit every red light in traffic, keep getting passed up for that promotion at work, or can’t figure out an answer on your math test, fix your eyes on Jesus. He is the pioneer and perfecter of your faith.

Frustrating circumstances will come, but don’t let them result in “frustration fouls.” Don’t let them result in sin. Learn from the apostle Paul, who wrote, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Kevin Mercer

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