Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent.
Offer proper sacrifices, and trust in the LORD.
Psalm 4:4-5 NLT

This week, I read a short writing on healthy responses to stress. It had a couple solid observations, but the best call to action I found there was the advice to RESPOND, not REACT. I must have read those three words 10 times or more before admitting out loud that I wasn’t sure where to begin with this idea. Whenever that happens, a dictionary is usually a good place.


  • : to say or write something as an answer to a question or request
  • : to do something as a reaction to something that has happened or been done : to have a particular reaction to something
  • : to have a good or desired reaction to something


  • : to behave or change in a particular way when something happens, is said, etc.
  • : (of a chemical substance) to change after coming into contact with another substance,
  • : to be affected by a drug, food, etc., in usually a bad way

A response is my good or desired answer. A reaction is my changed or affected answer. (I LOVE THE DICTIONARY!!!!!!!!) That is so powerful – When stressful situations arise, I should strive to respond (give a calm, neutral) answer rather than react (give a changed or affected) answer.

And because God loves us, he divinely inspired David to give a perfect 4-step plan for avoiding an internal hostile takeover (reaction) in Psalm 4:

Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Offer proper sacrifices, and trust in the LORD. (Psalm 4:4-5)

  1. Think about it overnight. (Take time to prayerfully consider the information.)
  2. Remain silent. (Consider it without distraction, gossip or slander.)
  3. Offer proper sacrifices. (Give to God whatever sin I am holding on to that is causing me to be hurt or angered by the situation.)
  4. Trust in the LORD. (Let God be God. He’s got this.)

That is so awesome! What a simple, Gospel-based response to stress and frustration! If only the implementation were that simple. This might require a few hundred post-it note reminders around my house…


Dear Lord, thank you for always responding to my sin with patience and love rather than impulsive reactions. You never let anything control you, and you deal with me in justice AND mercy. Please teach me to keep anger and fear from controlling me. Lead me to follow your wisdom in Psalms. Amen.

photo credit: <a href=”″>breathe</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

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  1. Robin

    Your eye for breaking through to the core of a message and putting it out there in a way that is, easy to digest and remember, is truly a gift. Thank you for sharing your gift to me on messy worship.

    • messyworship

      God is so cool – he uses each of us in unique ways to make his message of truth and love come alive daily! Your encouragement and time each week does it for me, Bible Study Buddy!


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