The Bible even gives accounts of individuals becoming annoyed and irritated. Don't believe me? Consider Paul. He got annoyed alright, but his response targeted the thing that was at the root of his annoyance.
We would do well to examine Paul's response when something got under his skin:
"One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her."--Acts 16:16-18(NLT)
The Bible clearly states that this young woman really got on Paul's nerves. She was offensive and really troubled, displeased, and offended Paul as she followed him (and those with him) day after day with her antics and taunting. Finally, Paul had enough. He was able to see beyond this girl and confront the thing that was using her.
How often do we fight a losing battle because we are focused on a visible opponent? Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our real fight is not with people. Yet, it is people we consider our adversaries/opponents. This erroneous thinking is a tactic of the enemy. It invariably causes us focus on the wrong thing (person) and thereby have strained or severed relationships.
May I encourage you, before you engage in another verbal battle or heated exchange, before you become enraged with another person, remember
2. THINK--if I engage, what am I engaging in and with whom/what?
3. ASK--the Holy Spirit to reveal what is at work. He will give you discernment
(I Corinthians 2:10-16)
4. MAINTAIN your POSITION and your POWER (Ephesians 6:14)
5. PRAY (Ephesians 6:18)
If we follow Paul's example and the precepts of the Scriptures we will be on our way to experiencing peace and more mutually satisfying relationships. No, we cannot change the behavior, attitude, or mindset of another, but we can take ownership and responsibility for our participation/engagement. When we begin to fully understand and embrace that we are not contending with people, but rather things we cannot see, it puts matters in a different perspective. We begin to see with the eyes of the Spirit. We pray with precision as we arm ourselves with the Word of God. We become a most formidable opponent.
Father, in the name of Jesus', I thank you for your word. I thank you for your Spirit that gives wisdom, revelation, knowledge, and discernment. Lord, I pray that you would give me restraint and enable me to proceed with caution as I interact with others. Help me to remember that the real enemy is not my spouse or boss or family member or neighbor--but rather something that cannot be seen. Help me to discern the spirit that I may be confronting--be it fear, anger, lying, manipulation, procrastination, or mocking--I pray that you would identify it. I thank you that you have given me the tools to be a victorious champion in this situation. Amen and so be it according to your word.