25: “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.” – Having urged early Christians to live lives worthy of their calling, now Paul instructs them as to how to live these new lives as Christian believers.
26: “Be angry but do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger.” – He provides real-life tools that can be used to insure that we are living our lives in true accord to how God would have us live.
28: “Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor…so as to have something to share with the needy.” – A purpose is provided to give us reasons for living holy lives…God’s kingdom is to be built.
29: “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need…” – Building the kingdom is our constant priority because there is need everywhere we find ourselves.
31: “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander…” – Be tender and kindhearted to each other as Christ has been for us.
5:1: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” – As we grow and mature in our faith we are to look to Christ as our living example of how to live our lives – always asking “What Would Jesus Do?”
2: “and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Live each moment of your life as “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Points to Contemplate:
Who are you? How many different ways can you answer that question? Do you think in terms of a profession: lawyer, doctor, nurse…? Does your position in your family come to mind: sister, mother, father…? Can you respond: ‘I am a Christian?’ What does that mean to you? How does that phrase set you apart? Are others able to see a difference in you and how you live your life because you are a Christian? Is this not the main stumbling block for non-believers, that they see little difference in how Christians act and behave versus non-Christians?
Do you imitate Christ? Is that not how people grow and learn, through imitation? Watch children at play, how they imitate adults, to remind you of this if you have forgotten. Do you recall that the word Christian means “little Christ?” What steps are you taking in your life to imitate Christ? Are you becoming more like Him? Or have you given up, thinking that it is an impossible task? Would it take a miracle for you to become like Christ? Have you prayed for this miracle to occur in your life?
With whom are you angry? Do you see how evil begins to grow around your anger? Are you willing to resolve that anger and not allow “the sun does not go down” on it one more time? Do you steal? Maybe just little things like money found on the payment or an overlooked item in a grocery cart? Do you see how these little things add up and rob from the kingdom of God? Are you bitter? Filled with wrath and scorn? Slanderous? Filled with malice? Will the memory of Christ’s forgiveness for you help to build within you kindness, tender-heartedness, forgiveness and love for others?
Do you live each moment of your life as “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God?”
Promises of the Gospel:
It is not acceptable to simply throw our hands in the air and accept our sinful nature. Accommodating our sinfulness with an attitude of “Oh well, at least I’m forgiven” is not the way Paul says we should live our lives. He is convicting us to realize that being a Christian means our lives have changed. That we have departed from the way things were and are moving towards the way things should be. Everything we do, all elements of our personality, should be pointed towards imitating Christ. Our hearts should break as we read modern surveys that report that most Christians do not feel that their lives are substantially changed by their relationship with Christ. You can be assured that God’s heart is breaking. Paul is telling us to offer our lives as a sacrifice to God and see how, through us, the world can be changed by Him.