“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. 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.” Ephesians 4:25-28 New International Version
When Joni and I were first dating I lived in the San Joaquin Valley. My family had moved there from the Sierra Mountains when my mom’s cancer became decidedly worse. Now, I hate the heat; I categorically do not like it HOT! So I determined not to live where it was going to be much over 80 degrees! Actually, I’m not sure I put that much thought into it, but it was imprinted in my subconscious.
Several years later while I was working as a route customer representative, I preferred temperatures to begin and remain in the 60’s! My route in the cool and windy portion of the coastal area was great! That is until the company moved the warehouse inland to a locale that more nearly mirrored the temperatures in California’s Central Valley. There were some days when the temperature change I experienced was in excess of 40 degrees. Often this extreme change in temperature caused my body to rebel against the excessive heat. Many nights I couldn’t recall the trip home from the inland warehouse back to the coast. I had set my mind on auto pilot and pointed the truck towards home!
So, heat and I are not on convivial terms, you might say heat and I have nothing in common. I realize we need heat, especially when the temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Some would say that’s not cold, and granted it’s not that cold. But if I wanted Arctic weather I’d move to North Dakota, or Minnesota, or some other frigid outpost (Robyn and Tim)! No, I quite enjoy the similar seasons we have here in California.
When we were posted to our first church district, it was in the Sierra’s at about 3000 feet. We were told there would be seasons. They were right, there was the summer season and the winter season, not too much different the Central Coast! The highs and lows were Just a little more extreme. So much for seasons that would be different from anything we had experienced!
Yet the ocean kept calling us home; Joni especially missed the open spaces. Being surrounded by trees all the time made it hard to find an open space. There were compensations in that we could look towards the back country of Yosemite and watch our own light show, the electric storms that occurred there every summer. It was like having our very own fireworks display, only more dramatic as the intensity of God’s creation revealed itself as lightening and thunder pounding Yosemite’s back country!
Once again with each manifestation of nature’s fury the power of God is revealed. Each one is a revelation pointing to the power of God to accomplish exactly what He desires, when He desires, in the way He desires!
The power exerted in an electrical storm is nothing compared to the power God uses to change our lives into all He has promised. Inherent in Grace, that transformation occurs when we are connected to God through Jesus. What does this change mean; how does it look in someone’s life? There are many things that can be traced back to God’s intimacy and passion concerning our lives. He moves into our lives creating the ability for lying to begin to be a thing of our past.
As this change has its impact there is the desire to speak truth, a desire that is motivated by God. One day the realization comes that truth may be spoken in kindness, gentleness, with an empathy and compassion which seek to heal rather than destroy! Many, and I was one, think truth must be brutal in order to have any impact. Our example of how truth is to be delivered is Jesus, and we are able to recognize the sense of mercy He offered all who were listening. Jesus also points to a reality He longs for us to take deeply into ourselves. It is just this, we are members of one body. There aren’t several bodies we’ve been called to recognize, just the one with Jesus Christ as the Head!
The counsel offered to the Believers is twofold, firstly be aware of allowing anger to find a home in you. Settle disagreements before they lead to anger. If, however, that wasn’t to be, then don’t exacerbate the issue by sinning in your anger!
What exactly is that supposed to mean? I thought getting angry was sinning, yet it’s written, “In your anger do not sin…!” How is that accomplished? Only God knows, and I will leave it with Him to define that for each person for I have my suspicion that the admonition “in your anger do not sin” is unique to each individual. The sin brought about by anger will be something only God can resolve. We must determine to allow Him access to accomplish exactly that, the resolution of our anger and sin!
There is danger in allowing anger to become the foothold for the enemy to use to take us out. The reason is this, it’s so easy to justify anger and what it can lead us to do. We are capable of doing immense harm when we decide we are justified in our anger and the choices we are making concerning that anger!
“The only way to be obedient to the heavenly vision is to give our utmost for God’s highest. The test is the sixty seconds of every minute, and then sixty minutes of every hour.” My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers Daily Devotional for March 11
The whole process brings change in every arena of our lives. God is serious about the difference to be made in the lives of those who become disciples. It is important to understand there will be discipline in the life of a follower of Jesus. Remember, a disciple is one who is being disciplined for the privilege of serving God in whatever way He desires. Over and over Jesus reveals His followers will have a heart for those who are suffering, in prison, who are ill, destitute, without the things they need to live. Once more it is the reminder, the admonition, that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. It is important enough that God has Paul remind those who have been stealing to find honest work so they might be a help to others through their wages!
In Matthew 25 and in the book of James it is evident the theme of God’s Grace is revealed through love shown to those in need. The purpose of a disciple of Jesus is to share what they have received from God. For as disciples of Jesus we have something to share, something that is far greater than we can begin to comprehend! Even so, it is something in which we can have every confidence! God’s Grace desires us to declare to the world the Hope we have in Jesus Christ, a Hope we are to offer all God brings into our sphere of influence!
God has much to share through those who will allow themselves to become tools in His hands. The key? Rest in Jesus as He uses you to accomplish His vision for a planet in the throes of rebellion! And because He has something to share through us, we will share Him as naturally as breathing. God’s Grace will be shared in everything that makes us who we are, His!
“So through Jesus let us always offer to God our sacrifice of praise, coming from lips that speak his name. Do not forget to do good to others, and share with them, because such sacrifices please God.” Hebrews 13:15-16 New Century Version