Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as your read this section of the Bible.
Read: Ephesians 4:25-32
Like peas and carrots…Christian faith and Christian practice go hand in hand. Belief shapes behavior. In this section of Ephesians the apostle Paul points out some specifics dealing with purity and holiness in our Christian life. However, when reading these particular instances we can’t forget the doctrine laid out in the chapter before. We must keep in mind that the grace of Jesus Christ is the reason we put off our “old self” and pursue a life that reflects the one in whom we believe.
Paul’s commands were pretty hefty as he starts getting into the nitty gritty of Christian life. Let’s get right to them.
1. Speak the truth in love. We belong to one body- the body of Christ (His church). If we love one another and the body of Christ then we should not deceive, or lie to one another. This breaks up the unity of the body of believers. Even in the midst of selfish gain or profit, we must choose to speak the truth in love.
2. Do not sin in your anger. Taken from Psalm 4:4 which states, “Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.” It is not a sin to feel angry, but when anger turns to wrath or breeds bitterness it can lead to sinful and damaging actions towards others.
3. Do not steal, but do honest work. Here we see a repeat of the eighth commandment. Idleness can create thieves; therefore stealing can be the effect of idleness. Work with integrity and honesty. We are reminded in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”
4. Speak only what is useful and edifying and let, “no foul language is to come from your mouth.” This verse is often quoted in defense of why Christians should not cuss, however it goes much deeper than that. What comes out of the mouth is a reflection of what is in your heart (Matthew 15:18, Proverbs 4:23). Again, this ties in with the previous instances Paul has challenged us with- to not lie, but speak truth in love, do not harbor anger, but doing honest work.
All of these things in which Paul writes grieve the Holy Spirit. They are not pleasing to the Lord. We are called to be holy because God is holy (1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 11:44). We are made in His image and likeness and our lives are a meant to be a testimony about Christ to others. What does your life say to others about Jesus?
People will know Christ by our love for one another (John 13:34-35). All of the examples Paul mentions here in Ephesians are rooted in love because we were shown the ultimate love from Jesus Christ, dying on the cross for our sins, so that we may spend eternity with Him.
Paul concludes this call for a Christian heart and life by reminding us of the hope that we have. We are sealed and set apart by God (for those who believe in Him). He reminds us to , “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” (vs. 32)
1. How do you normally deal with anger? What could help you in verses 26-27?
2. How much has God’s forgiveness towards you effected the way you treat others?
3. What is one new way your daily life could point others to the grace of God this week? Is there someone you need to apologize to or forgive even if they didn’t apologize to you?
Memorize: Ephesians 4:25 (if you are feeling rather ambitious!)
25 “Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.”