Ephesians 4:25-32New International Version (NIV)

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29298A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29298B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> 26 “In your anger do not sin”<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NIV-29299a" data-link="[a]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[a]:<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29299C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29300D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29301E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> doing something useful with their own hands,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29301F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> that they may have something to share with those in need.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29301G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29302H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> but only what is helpful for building others up<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29302I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29303J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> with whom you were sealed<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29303K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> for the day of redemption.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29303L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>31 Get rid of<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29304M" data-link="(M)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29304N" data-link="(N)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29305O" data-link="(O)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Well loves, here it is. This is where the rubber meets the road. Paul has been leading us up to the ‘how to’ of living out our new identities. He gives us practical examples of how maturing believers should act and contrasts it with  the behaviour that’s associated with the old self–the one that died with Christ Romans 6:4 Ephesians 2:4-5 . 


What’s the point?

It’s important to note that the text does NOT say “do not be angry”, rather it says “in your anger do not sin”. I, myself, struggle with emotions–I like to avoid them at all costs, and being human; it’s rather difficult to say the least. They can be deceptive in their intensity, but at conversion, upon receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit–we are given a spirit of self control. I’ve been guilty of quenching that spirit in my life and most times it has lead to chaos.
When faced with intense emotions, in this case anger, we have a choice to feed it, flee from it, or face it. Feeding it only compounds the issues and is sinfully self centred. The most common emotions we feed are all relational: anger, ego, pity and passion/admiration. 

Anger: Someone ticks you off–it happens. If you’re like me at all, you play the situation over and over in your mind some days. Maybe you discuss it with friends and go over all the “oh I wish I would’ve said this” moments and “that person is such an idiot”. Slowly, you begin to harbour bitterness towards that person. You begin to distance yourself from them because you no longer trust that they won’t hurt you. In your words, thoughts and actions you sow the seeds of disunity within the relationship and within the body of Christ.


Ego: This is the sneakiest of emotions. I find it creeps up in my life when I begin to mock others for getting what I think they deserve as a result of their actions. I create in myself a mindset that I am somehow better than they are. Another sneaky way ego creeps in is through the puffing oneself up after an accomplishment. It’s okay to celebrate successes, but sometimes we remove the significance of the moment and put others at a distance by over sharing for the ego stroke that comes with a ‘good job’ and can eventually be trapped in a cycle of vain arrogance.

Pity: Ever do something wrong or foolish and kick yourself for years? Ya, me neither (sarcasm). In berating ourselves and diminishing our worth, what are we saying about Christ’s suffering on the Cross? Was His death as atonement for our sins not enough that we must continually beat ourselves emotionally over something that has already been paid for? How arrogant am I to underwrite the value that the God and Maker of the Universe has placed on my life!
Passion/Admiration: I’m going to camp here for a bit. As a single lady, I feel like I can lend some truth to this one. This is the hardest one and is very closely related to ego and pride. 
We like to feel good . Women, specifically, long to feel beautiful and desired. When someone pays us that kind of close attention (be it a romantic interest or not) we can choose to flee (which in some cases is right and good if you’re feeling temptations of a sexual nature). Sometimes we flee just to avoid dealing with the emotions that certain words and actions bring up in us. This avoidance leaves us trapped in emotional immaturity and quenches any real relationship. It keeps people at arm’s length preventing the type of deep connection that you crave in the first place.
Feeding this emotion can be very destructive. It’s intoxicating to be enjoyed–to feel like someone delights in knowing you. Much like anger being fed, feeding this emotion involves a fair bit of internal dialogue. In all the over thinking, over analyzing and over compensating–where is the Holy Spirit in your conversation with yourself? In case you ever find yourself wondering if anyone delights in you–I can say with absolute certainty the one that matters the most in this life certainly does! I challenge you to do a topical Bible study of your own looking up how the Father regards His children–of which you are one. Words like precious, delight, joy, rejoicing, love, esteem, protect, adopt, sing over….pop up all over the Old and New Testaments. God delights in you!
Facing it is the only way to put off the falsehood of the fleeing and the feeding. I’ve found the best way to do this is to acknowledge the emotion, sate the truth of the matter (and the lies), repent asking forgiveness for believing and dwelling in falsehood–and moving on.
MOVE ON. Don’t repeat the cycle by beating yourself up for learning moments. You’re human, you’re going to feel things and feel them deeply. And that is okay! It’s part of the beautiful way that God created you. The question is, what are you going to do about it? And whom are you going to turn to? Yourself, your friends, or the Source of Truth?
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