Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2
For Sunday, August 19, 2009
The gospel calls us to move away from the way we used to live: in the futility of our thinking (v. 17), indulging in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more (v. 19). We are to move toward living out the truth found in Christ (v. 21). In writing to the church at Ephesus Paul now makes some very practical applications.
First, in our relationships with one another we are to “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to our neighbors” (v. 25). Note that this instruction is given to believers. Believers wouldn’t ever lie to one another would they? Paul knew that they would and did. Take an inventory of the conversations you have had over the last three days. Are there any in which you have not been truthful? If so, for the sake of your own soul, your relationship with your brother or sister, and for the sake of the church in the world, take a few minutes today to set things right.
Second, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (v. 26). How often do we simply suppress or deny the anger we feel toward our fellow Christians, only by so doing to give the devil a foothold from which he can literally destroy relationships. How are you feeling today about your pastor, about your colleague, about your spouse? If you are truthful, are you angry? Then ask God to give you the wisdom and grace to bring redemptive change to the situation.
If you are worried about how to do this, look no farther than the next verse: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up” (v. 29). Healthy conflict does not destroy relationships, but rather strengthens them, blessing all involved.
In sum, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (v. 32).