“So then, putting away falsehood, let each of you speak the truth with your neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin;[g] do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Those who steal must give up stealing; rather, let them labor, doing good work with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths but only what is good for building up,[h] as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice.32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.[i]” Ephesians 4.25-32
What we do, say, and think all impacts us and others. Paul has a laundry list of dos and don’ts. For example…. (These are my paraphrases…) Don’t lie….speak truth. If you get angry, that’s ok, but don’t sin. Don’t steal, but work with your own hands. Don’t say bad things, encourage others. Don’t disrespect God’s Spirit because you represent him! Don’t be bitter and put away all bad things from your mind. Be kind, love God and others.
We find lots of “don’ts” in this, as we should but right in the middle is a verse that has stymied — “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” The Message version puts it this way — “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted,” (MSG).
We are called to do the right thing. To behave, but not just for the sake of behaving, but for the sake of glorifying God with our lives. He wants/needs us to be representatives of his Spirit. To spread his word, to communicate his love, to offer his forgiveness, grace and salvation to all we meet. And how can we do that when we act like the devil? We can’t! Reflecting Jesus means we talk as he talked and walk as he walked.
So today, as we walk in these bodies of flesh, lets live according to the Spirit. Let’s imitate Christ in all of or actions and worship so that he might be made manifest in us. By his grace and for his glory.
“O Lord God, you are good. I am but a traveling disciple, a prophet, a leader among your people. I know that all my gifts come from you and within you I find hope. Come now, Holy God, help me to be a people that you have called and created me to be. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen