So, Ephesians chapter four tells us:
Always be humble and gentle.
Not “sometimes” or “whenever you think about it”… but ALWAYS be humble and gentle!
Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
I love this! It couldn’t be more simple, clear, and applicable.
Skipping down to verse eleven:
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.
I call this “new teaching” that Paul is writing about “Oprah teaching”. Too often, well-meaning Christians are swayed by whatever was deemed “Oprah’s book of the week” and get hung up on seeking truth in other places besides God’s Word. These “Oprah teachings” almost make sense and fool us into listening to them as if they are truth. But they’re simply not true. We can’t find peace from looking inside ourselves, or to our auras. We aren’t the masters of our own domain. We can’t empower ourselves.
In fact, that’s the opposite of what the Bible teaches. Only God has the power and peace we are seeking, when we humbly submit to Him.
Skipping down to verse seventeen:
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
That was me. And when you’re in the middle of it, like I was, you don’ t care. You don’t want to hear about God. You don’t want to hear about His saving grace. You only want to live the way you feel like living.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
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.”
Now, THAT is tough! Anger is a combination of hurt, sadness and fear, and we deal with it every single day. And we’re supposed to not let it control us? This is no easy task!
Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
If you are mad at your spouse, at your kids, at your parents, at your friends or co-workers, don’t go to bed without making an effort to make up with them.
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.
Did you catch that? “Don’t swear” isn’t just your mom’s nagging words, IT’S IN THE BIBLE! I know Christians who curse A LOT. Yet, it’s important that we don’t.
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.
That’s a tough verse, too. It’s not easy to forgive one another. Yet, God forgave each of us, to the extent of dying a brutal death on the cross TO forgive us. So, for us to forgive the guy in the cubicle next to us for stealing our stapler is pretty simple in comparison.
Our lives needs to represent Christ. This can only happen by being constantly reminded what that means by reading God’s Word… by reading Scriptures like Ephesians chapter four. And when we fall short, that’s when we need to repent, seek forgiveness, and be restored so that we represent Jesus again. We need to pray. All day. Talk to God about all the things that you find yourself thinking about.
And we must attend church. If you haven’t found a church that you like, then keep looking an find one that you do, and attend it regularly. But don’t just show up on Sundays. You need to make relationships there with fellow Christians and actually fellowship with them.
This is how you grow.
This life is too short to not make the changes today that God desires for us.
Take it from a guy who has completely gone off the rails and realized that I need to change out of my love for God in order to spend eternity with Him. After all, that’s why He sent His Son, Jesus down to be beaten and die… FOR ME! To spend eternity with me!
Even though I’m a mess most of the time.
You may say, “I’m not like that. I don’t need that”
And you’re wrong. We all need it. We just need to realize how much we need it, and the reward that lies ahead, if we choose to follow Jesus!