Ephesians 4:25-32; 5:1-7
God chose us not to be like robots but like
him, experiencing emotion--emotional beings by his design.
You see, we can express emotion and feelings of love toward
God. But emotion can also be a vehicle for the enemy. God
wants us to control our emotions. He doesn't want our emotions
to dictate our actions but he wants his Word to dictate our
actions. Ephesians 4:25-32; 5:1-7. "Therefore each of you
must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor,
for we are all members of one body. 'In your anger do not
sin' [Psalm 4:4]: 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 form of malice.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ, God forgave you.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and
live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself
up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But
among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality,
or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are
improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity,
foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but
rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral,
impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any
inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one
deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's
wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not
be partners with them."
Put off the old man and put on the new man and his nature.
The new man has a new mind, a new tongue, and as we'll study
this week, a new attitude. Verses 26-27,"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." Anger itself
is not a sin, but this emotion can lead to sin. Righteous
anger is an anger against sin. But uncontrolled, selfish anger
leads to sin. Generally we find ourselves angry because we
didn't get something we wanted. Sometimes anger can be the
result of someone else getting something we wanted. But the
main area we get angry in is when we get hurt--hurt by someone
else. This kind of anger should be shut off very quickly by
the Holy Spirit in us, or else we're headed for trouble. [Refer
to Nan Missler's four step process for giving Jesus our hurts
& offenses that others have caused us.] Proverbs 15:1,18.
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up
"(18)"A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who
is slow to anger allays contention." 16:32. "He who is slow
to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit
than he who takes a city." 19:11. "The descretion of a man
makes him slow to anger, and it is to his glory to overlook
a transgression." 27:4. "Wrath is cruel and anger arrogant,
but who is able to stand before jealousy?" 14:29. "He who
is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive
exalts folly." Do you get angry when you're hurt or do you
pray? An old Latin proverb says, "He who goes to bed angry
goes to bed with the devil." Don't go to bed with the enemy.
Anger is an emotion God has given to us. But he warns us to
use it properly. Horace calls anger momentary insanity. Uncontrolled
anger makes us irrational. Paul's answer to anger is found
in Romans 12:14-21. "Bless those who persecute you; bless
and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with
those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not
be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited. Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful
to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible,
as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's
wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"
[Deut. 32:35] On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed
him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing
this, you will heap burning coals on his head." [Prov. 25:21-22]
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
What Paul is saying here is that when you respond to non-Christian
abuse and hurting with love, it is a powerful witness. But
on the other hand, uncontrolled anger can divide families,
destroying and tearing them apart. The reality of life is
that we will often unintentionally hurt each other. Satan
grabs these opportunities and uses them against us if we're
not watchful and deal with our hurts and angers properly right
away. Satan hates God and God's people. When he finds a spark
of anger in a Christian he fans it until it flames up. Anger
that broods over into the next day turns into bitterness.
Avoid bitterness like the plague. Ephesians 4:31-32. "Get
rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate
to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God
forgave you." Bitterness defiles you and blinds you from
seeing God. If you know someone who is bitter, pray for them.
God allows others into our lives, giving us hard times. These
will either make us better or bitter. But we have a
choice in the matter because of and through the power of the
Holy Spirit who dwells in us. [Nan Missler's books Way
of Agape and Be Ye Transformed are all about how
we can do this in our Christian lives.]
Exodus 15:22-26. "Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and
they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled
in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah,
they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That
is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled
against Moses, saying, 'What are we to drink?' Then Moses
cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of
wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there
he tested them. He said, 'If you listen carefully to the voice
of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if
you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees,
I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the
Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you." This occurred
just after their great deliverance from the Egyptian army
by the parting of the Red Sea. They got angry. Have you come
to bitter waters in your life? God has done it to make you
better, not bitter. God can make those bitter waters sweet.
God brought bitterness into the life of Naomi, mother-in-law
of Ruth. Look how it turned out, and to what purpose. Ruth
1:3-18; 4:13-17. "Now Elimelech, Noami's husband, died, and
she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women,
one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there
about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi
was left without her two sons and her husband. When she heard
in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by
providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared
to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she
left the place where she had been living and set out on the
road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Then Noami said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each
of you, to your mother's home. May the Lord show kindness
to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the
Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of
another husband." Then she kissed them and they wept aloud
and said to her, "We will go back with you to your people."
But Naomi said, "Return home, my daughters. Why would you
come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could
become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too
old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still
hope for me--even if I had a husband tonight and then gave
birth to sons--would you wait until they grew up? Would you
remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter
for me than for you, because the Lord's hand has gone out
At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law
good-by, but Ruth clung to her. "Look," said Noami, "your
sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go
back with her."
But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back
from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will
stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where
you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord
deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death
separates you and me." When Noami realized that Ruth was determined
to go with her, she stopped urging her."
God brought Noami through some bitter times. God took these
difficult times and turned them sweet. Noami brought home
to Judah the Great Grandmother of king David. Ruth 4:13-17.
"So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to
her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth
to a son. The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord,
who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer.
May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your
life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law,
who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has
given him birth."
Then Noami took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for
him. The women living there said, "Naomi has a son." And they
named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of
Learning how to forgive and forget is the key to a happy Christian
life. What God desires is verse 32 of Ephesians 4. "Be kind
and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just
as in Christ God forgave you." Love covers a multitude of
sins. If we do this with anger--putting it aside--Isaiah 58:9-12
will become a part of our lives. "Then you will call, and
the Lord will answer you will cry for help, and he will say;
Here I am. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with
the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves
in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night
will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will
strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild
the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of the Broken Walls, Restorer
of Streets with Dwellings." [Refer to the link "Battling Temptations,
Trials" which links to Nan Missler's section at this link.
Read her chapter on putting away anger and hatreds.]