Living the Christian life isn’t easy. Thankfully, Ephesians 4:25-32 provides a few guidelines for Christians to live by. The verses say:
Therefore each of you must put off falsehoods and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every other form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Living the life of a Christian is an ongoing process of studying, learning, putting learning into action, and constantly reflecting and evaluating your actions. It can be a very liberating process, but it can also be very daunting as well.
Getting back to the passage from Ephesians…..first, we are told to be truthful to one another, but notice the same section discusses how we are all members of one body. The reference is to the body of Christ….other Christians, not the body of mankind. I don’t think this is telling us it is ok to lie to non-Christians….not at all, but our Christian brothers and sisters deserve more honest attention from us.
Once we admit with our mouths that Jesus is Lord we are sealed. Nothing can undo the grace we receive at that moment because we are sealed…protected by the Lord. However, our lies and the other negative things we say grieves the Holy Spirit. Thereafter, we should only use our mouths to build each other up.
The part about not letting the sun go down on your anger…I heard my mother spout that bit of advice over and over as I was growing up. Part of her spill was the advice was always something her mother told her. It just makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s amazing all of God’s instructions regarding life make sense. Hmmm….I guess it’s amazing because God’s plan for us is perfect.
Getting back to that anger thing…The longer you wait to settle something with someone the harder it becomes to face the person no matter who was right OR wrong. Anger allows too many other sins to creep in and gain a foothold. One sin that comes to mind is pride.
Work…work not just to provide for your family, but to keep your hands busy. This passage from Ephesians takes the idea of work one step further to becoming Christ-like though. Work to help others….work to be able to provide for others….work to make a difference in the world.
So, let’s see….as a Christian I cannot lie, I cannot be angry with anyone for very long without dealing with the issue, I must work not just to buy stuff but in order to be able to help others, I must watch my tongue and totally turn my back on any type of malice. I must strive to be kind always and forgive others as Christ has forgiven me.
The problem? While I am a Christian, I am also human. Professing Jesus is Lord saves me for eternity, but it does not make me perfect during my stay here on Earth hence the need for the constant study, constant learning, constant putting things into action, and constant reflection and analysis....oh, and constantly praying as well.
No….it’s not easy to be a Christian, but it’s worth it. :)