Let’s Not… and Choose to Live Redeemed, Thriving in Christ

Yesterday in Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul exhorted us to ‘put on’ a new self in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit living within each believer. The next verses continue and remind us of what we need to ‘put off’ as well. In Ephesians 4:25-32, Paul gets really specific about what actions we need to put away or put off so that the new self in Christ can thrive.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  We are to not lie to each other. Stop the little falsehoods that make us look better and the other person less. We are to remember we are all here as believers joined together in His body to glorify Him.

26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.  Unrighteous anger, and holding grudges allows Satan to infiltrate your mind and actions, and let’s him have an in with you. Don’t let this happen!

28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Check your motives and work for the common good-sharing and loving one another in Christ. Selfish gains have no place in the body of Christ.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Watch what you say- it is important to build each other up not tear one another down.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Those things that are sinful grieve God when we do them. We don’t’ think we are hurting others but we are making God sad by our sinful words, deeds, thoughts and actions. Our desire should be to please God not grieve Him.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Paul is very specific- get rid of the bad attitudes and actions, evil and hurt. They are not to be part of our new character in Christ!

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Paul’s final reminder of what God desires of us in Christ.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can choose to be kind, compassionate and forgiving towards others; I can put off those non God honoring behaviors that are destructive to myself and those around me. Praise God! Through Christ Alone is this possible.

Linda

Words from Paul on How To- Put on the Good Stuff!

In yesterday’s blog from Colossians 3:1-10, Paul began with the reason we have a new life to put on. Christ is the reason for our new life and with that new life we are to put off, put away, stop doing things that are not godly. Paul had quite a list for us to consider: 3:5, 8-9 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.

In today’s scripture from Colossians 3:12-14, Paul tells us what we are to put on, as we seek to live for Jesus. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Because we now belong to Christ, Jesus wants us dressed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 22:37-40, when asked what is the greatest commandment,  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Putting on godly behavior means seeking to love the Lord and all those around us. Jesus put it this way in John 13: 34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Becoming a Christian is more that acknowledging Christ as your Lord and Savior. It is about growing in His character through the power of the Holy Spirt, so that others will see Him and His love through you. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can love God and show His love to those around me in the things I say and do. Have a little ‘put on’ check today. Ask yourself, am I acting in a way that others can see Jesus in my actions? Am ready to forgive when wronged? Am I being loving to those I know and those I don’t? Meditate on Colossians 3:12-14 as you ponder these questions. Also consider your own growth as a Christian and whether or not you are open to God creating His character within you through the power of His Holy Spirit. If you are willing, He is ABLE!

Linda

Advent…A Time to Show and Tell

Advent is a time when we need to show our faith to others and then tell them about Jesus by our actions. When I was teaching writing, show don’t tell passages were those that showed what the action was by describing what was going on instead of just telling it. The use of descriptive words was imperative to show the reader what you were trying to say. Advent is a time when churches, religious groups and civic organizations look to meet the needs of the poor, hungry, unemployed and hurting people of all ages. The seek to show the love of Christ to others with deeds and not just with words. This year, 2021, has been particularly difficult as we live with the daily effects of the global pandemic. Yes, the conditions have improved over 2020, but there are still a great number of people who are sick, out of work or lonely. I have an 80 year old friend that faithfully works at her church’s food bank sorting and filling bags of food for the hungry. I am amazed by the long lines seen on the news of people waiting in cars to get bags of food. Many of those seeking help have never had to ask before as they had always been self-sufficiently employed.

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One verse in our Christmas story brought this to mind. Luke 1:56 speaks of Mary staying with Elizabeth for about 3 months then going home to Nazareth. “Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.” Scripture said that the angel appeared to Mary when Elizabeth was in her sixth month, “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,” Luke 1:26 Doing the math, it would seem that young Mary who was only just pregnant came to visit Elizabeth when Elizabeth was six months along. Staying with Elizabeth in the last months of her pregnancy before John was born, when Zechariah was not able to talk (Luke 1:20), was probably a great comfort, blessing and help to this aged mother and father to be. We are not told in scripture that Mary was present when John was born, but I would imagine Mary stayed until John was born and then returned home. By helping Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary was also blessed and comforted as she shared this time with them.

In this one verse God shows us how we are to be supportive of each other and stay the distance. My friend could go and help out occasionally at the food bank but she has made it a priority to give of herself 3 days a week. Many I know, prior to Covid, went regularly to nursing homes to share, sing and pray with residents or visit those in hospitals. Another friend had a brother that had a severe accident and the family ministered to him and nursed him back to health after being released from the hospital. Ministering to those in need shows godly character as we give, are compassionate, merciful and kind. It also opens the door for you to speak of your motivation for doing acts of kindness, Jesus.

Even with Covid restrictions, find a way to meet someone’s needs this week. It could be a phone call, text, card or letter to a friend you know is lonely or sick. Maybe you can make cookies or bread to leave on their doorstep. Know that things done serving others out of love pleases God. Jesus told us in John 13:34-35 ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Let the world see your love for Jesus through your actions of service towards one another.

Linda

Advent…Elizabeth Thankful for God’s Kindness, What about You?

How do you react to unexpected news or changes in your life? In today’s portion of the Advent journey, we see Elizabeth’s response to her unexpected pregnancy? She was advanced in age and had long since given up hope of having a child. God miraculously provided and we see her humble, thankful response in Luke 1:23-25. When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”

Just as many women today do not announce their pregnancy until the first trimester is completed, Elizabeth went into seclusion giving herself time to adjust to this new life within her. Her joy is evident in her words and she gives praise and credit to the Lord. The sigma of not having children was more than just being deprived of the joy of being a parent as people also thought the woman was not favored by God. Elizabeth’s joy at realizing her dream of having a child and being favored by God to have a son with a specific purpose was overwhelming. She chose to thank God for His attribute of kindness. She recognized God’s kindness in sending her a child and also his promised Messiah to come. As believers in Jesus, we see this as stated in Titus 3:4-7 “But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” Elizbeth saw God’s love and mercy towards her, His generosity and grace. Her whole being was thankful. We too see this same kindness towards us in Jesus. God’s provision of salvation and hope is overwhelming and filled with His grace.

What about you? What makes you joyous and thankful to your very soul? Is it your relationship with God? Is it God’s expressions of love, joy and grace towards you? Mediate on your attitude and ask God to create in you a spirit of whole thankfulness so you may enjoy this season of great joy!

Linda


Advent…. No Fear!

Today’s scripture from Luke 1:11-17 includes one of the No Fear statements given by God. In writing Fearless Living, I saw that each of these No Fear opportunities in scripture packed a powerful message from God. He intends for us to live fearlessly keeping our focus upon Him.

While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”

Zechariah was going about his priestly duties in the temple just as we go about our daily tasks. But God, intervened into his life with a message of hope and deliverance. God wanted Zechariah to be encouraged not fearful. He wanted him to know that good news was arriving and that He had heard their prayers for a child. It affirmed to Zechariah that God hears our prayers, knows the desires of our heart and had good things planned for his life which included a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) God’s message to him was one of amazing hope for both he and Elizabeth and the nation of Israel. Their child would help turn hearts back to God. What greater blessing for a parent than to see their child living for God and fulfilling the purpose to which God has called them.

Where is God giving you hope? Where is God speaking to you, nudging you through the Holy Spirit as we begin this Advent season? Do you have someone He wants you to connect or reconnect with or is He nudging you to an act of kindness on their behalf? God wants us to live fearlessly by walking in trust and obedience to His call. Will you seek to listen as God desires to intervene in your life?

Linda

Did you Forget?? Are you Withholding??

When we question ourselves about kindness, the most frequent thought is: how did I show kindness or how can I show kindness in what I say or do? This is another aspect of kindness that God addresses in His Word. 2 Chronicles 24:22. describes a scene where God reveals the sin of not remembering the kindness of others done to us and the consequences that can come from deliberately forgetting. In this time in Israel’s history, Joash was king. He was a good king and restored the worship of the Lord with the help of the priest Jehoiada. Time passed, Joash got old and Jehoidada died and was replaced by his son, Zechariah. Israel fell back into idolatry and the new high priest Zechariah confronted Joash. He counciled Joash to return to God and abandon idolatry. His advice was was met with great resistance. 21 But they (those at court) conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the Lord. 22 Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, “May the Lord see and avenge! ” Sure enough, Joash was invaded by the Syrians, the city was looted and his officials killed him in his bed for murdering Zechariah the high priest all before the year was done. What lesson can we learn from these events? When we are treated with kindness or kindly, we need to remember who treated us kindly and why. Remembering helps to temper our reactions or actions in the future if things are not so pleasant. Kindness is meant to be accepted, cherished and then repaid out of love. Jesus told us in John 13:34-35 “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Kindness needs to be remembered and responded to with love, regardless of the passage of time.

Another thought about kindness is the idea of withholding kindness. Job was suffering and told his friends that they should treat him with kindness, not withhold, punish or reject him because of his circumstances. The circumstances and reasons are for God alone to know. Their response should be kindness not judgement. Job 6:14 in the Amplified ““For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; So that he does not abandon (turn away from) the fear of the Almighty.” I find this verse very convicting as Job’s friends were condemning him for not blaming God. Their kindnesses should have been done or said so that Job would draw closer to God. A sobering thought, is your lack of kindness pushing someone away from God? Kindness is meant to be given to show God’s love and bring someone closer to Jesus as they see Him in our words and actions.

I pray that these thoughts from God’s Word will sink down into your soul and open your eyes to situations where you need to remember how you were treated with kindness in the past and therefore react to a new situation with kindness. Or how you might be withholding kindness when responding with kindness may draw someone closer to Jesus. God can and does transform us through His Holy Spirit so we can show His love to others.

Linda

Is Your Kindness Showing?

When I looked at the scriptures using the word kind, kindness or kindly, often the word show or treated was used to describe the delivery. Kindness is an outgrowth of the Holy Spirit’s work within us but it does not stay inside us- it moves out and reveals itself to others in our actions. The things we say and do give evidence to God’s kind spirit within us. Here are some examples from scripture of this at work:

David was friends with Jonathan, the son of King Saul. Saul sought to kill David and made the friendship hard for both men, however, they remained faithful to each other. After Jonathan and Saul were killed and David became king, David wanted to show kindness instead of hate (which is what most kings did to living relatives of their predecessors). 2 Samuel 9: 3 tells us that David went looking for someone to bless with kindness. “And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” What David discovered was Saul’s grandson, Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth. He was injured when news came of his father and grandfather’s deaths and his nurse grabbed him and fled in fear for his life. David, as king, did not have to show any kindness to Jonathan’s son, but he did so out of his love for Jonathan. He sought to restore his wealth from his father and gave him a seat at his table going forward. Who do you know that needs kindness that would be unexpected or restorative? Can you reach out an provide that unexpected/restorative kindness in Jesus’ name?

Another time David responded with kindness was when the King of the Ammonites died and his son took the throne. 2 Samuel 10:1-2 ”  In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.”  David allowed the kindness pathway to extend to the new ruler. He assumed a position of continuing kindness. Where do you need to assume a position of continued or passed on kindness? Do you have a new boss or neighbor? Do you need to remember the kindness of others and start a chain of interaction from a position of kindness? This seems to be an example of getting treated kindly and deciding to pass it on.

I will end today’s blog with scriptures that tell us kindness is expected of the believer and has benefits:

Proverbs 21:21 “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
Wow! What a wonderful promise!

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Colossian 3:12 “ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”

Kindness is a choice we have because God created us with free-will. However, in God’s kingdom it is expected of the believer and made possible by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. As you meditate on kindness the kindness of God, how can we not respond? Titus 3:4-5 “ But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” We need to be constantly reminded that God’s kindness is beyond our imaging as He sent Jesus to save us. How can we express our kindness and mercy to others in gratitude to Him? Look for ways to show Christ centered kindness today.

Linda

God’s Kindness, What is it?

Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23″22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Like Patience this attribute is one God desires to be in our character and is one that grows and develops as we are indwelt and responsive to the Holy Spirit in our lives. For this discussion, I want to start at the root of Kindness- God Himself. God is perfect in all of His ways and embodies all kindness in His being. Here are some scriptures to help us to better understand the kindness of God.

Ruth 2:20 “And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” God brought Boaz into Ruth’s life to restore her and her mother-in-law when they returned to Israel after losing their husbands. God’s kindness is true for both those living and those who have passed into eternity. God’s kindness transcends all realms as God is God of all, both the living and the dead. I find great comfort in this, like Naomi, God does not stop being God to me when I leave this earthly home. He is eternal and His kind character will be there no matter when or where!

Like humans, God desires to show His kindness towards us. He is always motivated by His love. Romans 2:4 says He shows us His love because He desires that we will see and recognize His love, patience and longsuffering towards us and turn to Him. “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” What is the purpose of your acts of kindness? Do you desire to show your Savior to others and draw them to Him?

God’s kindness towards us was given to bring us to repentance and faith and is explained more fully in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Ephesians 2:5-8 is one of my favorite and encouraging passages. even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” God’s kindness is evident in His sending Jesus to redeem and save us from eternal death through faith. Jesus came even though we were sinners and dead in our sins. He brought us life. What a wonderful kindness God showed to all of us by this act. God showed us then and will continue to show us His kindness into eternity. Titus put it this way in Titus 3: 4-6 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,” God’s kindness in sending Jesus to die for our sins was His alone. It was His mercy and cleansing though our faith in Christ that redeems us. He loved us that much! What sacrifices have you made for others out of godly kindness?

David summed up God’s kindness in Psalm145.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

[The Lord is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.]

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.

How does God’s kindness towards you affect your day to day walk with Him? Are you seeking to show His kindness to others? Remember, kindness is an outgrowth of faith and the work of the Holy Spirit within. Our kindness is meant to draw others to Jesus. By being and acting kindly towards others we show them Jesus and His great love. Not feeling kindly towards others- pray. Not wanting to do kind acts- pray. Remember, God is eternal and His kindness is unending, longsuffering and always fills us with hope! Thank you God.

Linda

A Small Book Bringing Mighty Words for Living Forgiven

And the journey continues….to Micah. The book of Micah was written by the prophet Micah, who lived during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, all kings of Judah. He was a contemporary with the prophets Isaiah and Hosea. This was a time of great idolatry in Israel and Judah. The Lord God was not pleased with their idol worship and Micah’s messages told of the destruction and fall of Samaria and Jerusalem as punishment for their forsaking the worship of God and worshipping other gods. Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 721 B.C. and the Judeans managed to hold off Sennacherib’s attacks with the help of the Lord. Their return to worship of God Almighty under Hezekiah was short lived and Jerusalem fell with the Jews deported to Babylon in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar. In the midst of all the prophesies against Judah and Israel, God gave messages through Micah of hope, restoration and future glory to come through the Messiah.

To begin, I love the beautiful verse in 5:2 where the birth place of the coming Messiah is foretold. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,  who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” What hope this pinpointing of the birthplace of their Messiah must have given them. God always promised there would be a remnant, a group of believers who would remain true to their faith in Him, and a Savior to come. They did not know when their redeemer would come but now they knew where he would arrive, in Bethlehem. From the Christmas story, we know this to be true as related in Chapters 1 and 2 of Matthew and Luke.

Micah also makes a case for obedience in faith and action in Chapter 6. He states wholeheartedly what the Lord desires of us. I have always found these verse in 6:6-8 very encouraging and straight to the point of what God wants. “With what shall I come before the Lord,
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God
?”
Micah knew that God looks at the heart and knows if our offerings are sincere, or just attempts to appease Him. Micah speaks plainly about what Almighty God desires of us. We can take his words to heart and examine ourselves looking intently at our motives and actions. This requires me to daily focus on seeking the Lord with an open and sincere heart so I can act justly, walk humbly and show God’s love and kindness to others.

My favorite verses of this little book are found in 7:18-20. They remind me of who God is, His amazing character which is filled with compassion and forgiveness. Micah also highlights a great gift God made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus which was freeing us from the bondage of sin. We are forgiven through Christ. I am assured that those sins are gone, forgotten and will be remembered no more! Praise God! “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
    and passing over transgression
    for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
    because he delights in steadfast love.
19 He will again have compassion on us;
    he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
    into the depths of the sea.

20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob

    and steadfast love to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our fathers
    from the days of old.”
God in His faithfulness loves and forgives me completely. As Micah said, Who is a God like you? Jesus. There is no other. Paul described Jesus in Philippians 2:9-11 ” Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, I am forgiven. Thank you Jesus!

May you soak in the truth and depth of God’s forgiveness and love. May you seek to do those things that please Him because of the depth of your love for Jesus and gratitude for what He has done for you.

Linda

Straight talk by Paul (points us to Christ like behavior)

In this last section of Ephesians 4 Paul gets down to serious talk about sins that he has seen or heard of among the believers.  He mentions lying or speaking untruthfully with each other.  Anger that is not righteous but rooted in resentment, hostility or jealousy.  Also some had been thieves prior to becoming believers, and Paul tells them they must work and be useful so they will have things to share with those in need.  He mentions gossip or unwholesome talk, saying things that bring others down instead of building  them up.  He straight out tells them to get rid of bitterness, rage, anger fighting, backbiting, slander, and any and all kinds of malice.   All of these things are undesirable and incompatible with a life given to Christ.

Several verses jumped out at me in this section, Ephesians 4:26, 30 and 32.  26 “Be angry ephesians 4 26and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”  This verse is frequently said, “don’t go to bed angry”.   Anger that is rooted in sin is filled with resentment, jealousy, bitterness and even hatred.  Paul is saying, anger is a valid emotion but do not let it be for the wrong reasons.  Jesus was angry with the money changers buying and selling in the temple and threw them out (Matthew 21:12).  He was angry with the Pharisees for wanting to trap him and keep a man from being healed on the Sabbath (Mark 3:5).  Both of these were cases of righteous anger.  They were not rooted in self but in wrongs done towards God.  When we harbor or coddle our anger, it will fester and grow.  Paul is telling us to not let that happen as the results will be harmful to us and to those around us.

30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”   What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit?   As a believer, Jesus’ Holy Spirit lives within us.  When we deliberately sin- steal, lie, cheat, act with wrong motives in anger, harbor bitterness, etc, it grieves the Holy Spirit that is within us.  God hates sin and doing sinful acts gives His Spirit grief, or makes His Spirit sad over our sin.  Paul reminds us that when we received Christ,  we were sealed by God’s Holy Spirit forever.  That is a wonderful privilege and honor,  and we should love Jesus enough to desire to not deliberately sin against Him.

32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  I love this verse as Paul lays it out directly for us as to what kinds of actions should characterize a believer.  These will bring delight to our Savior.  They should be our response to His marvelous forgiveness and grace.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead,  we are made for righteous actions and thoughts towards ourselves and others which bring joy to God. 

ephesians 4 32Focus today on right living, good thoughts and actions towards others, putting away all bitterness, jealousy, anger …..  Don’t let  yourself fall into anger over your current circumstances,  but look for the good and seek to see how you can ‘be Jesus’ to each one you speak with today.

Linda

 

Full text in the New Living Translation:

25″ So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,  guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”