InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday, October 22, 2010
Read | Ephesians 4:30-32
Unity of the Spirit
1Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
8Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
9(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) 11And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
The Christian’s Walk
17So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven [a]you.
A righteous life has no room for lingering anger, whether in the form of rage or resentment. Fury that hardens in our hearts becomes a stronghold for Satan.
The fleshly method for “curing” wrath is to either let it out (rage) or suppress it (resentment). Neither is effective for solving problems or making an angry person feel better. God’s way of dealing with this dangerous emotion dissolves it and sets the believer free. As today’s passage reminds us, we are to “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from [us], along with all malice” (v. 31). But to do so requires that we recognize it’s there.
Whether we are annoyed at ourselves, another person, or God, we have to own that feeling. Pretending that the emotion doesn’t exist or that we’ve somehow risen above anger is useless. If you’re angry, admit it and then identify the source. Knowing who or what ignited the initial fury can prevent people from misdirecting irritation onto the innocent.
Here are some questions to help in identifying a source of anger:
• Why am I angry?
• At whom am I angry?
• What caused me to feel/act this way?
• Where or when did this feeling start?
• Have I been angry a long time?
Once we know the source of our anger, it’s time to forgive, no matter what. Fury and unforgiveness often go together, and they’re heavy baggage that will drag you down. God calls us to set them aside and take up love and kindness instead. Forsaking anger means walking in His will with a light step.
And the Lord calls us to “Forgive even the unforgivable” for HIM.
In Christ, always… jams4JESUS