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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Thoughts

Ephesians 4 Learning to Forbear, Forgive, and Be Free

In Ephesians 4 we're told "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Sometimes it is so hard to live that verse. I have failed at it many more times than I have succeeded. When someone does wrong to us and hurts us, our human nature wants to lash back at them in anger. It's indeed the normal response, isn't it? As Christians, that's not the response Christ wants us to exhibit and allow in ourselves. To forbear-not with pride (as in, "Oh well, I suppose I'll just put up with them, even though they should know better than to do that to me!"), but with meekness and longsuffering. That means-"Well, I know they hurt me, but I want to love them, and for them to see the love of Christ. I will choose to bear with them through this. I'll pray for their joy." We are supposed to endeavor to keep unity of the Spirit. It's not easy-it's for sure something we have to endeavor for--God knows this, that's why it's in the Scriptures.

Well, we know what we should do, but why should we do it? Ephesians 4 goes on to say that there is one body, one Spirit, one baptism, one God and Father of all. We are all part of His body. He has given each of us gifts for the use of edifying of one another (vs. 12). Verse 16 elaborates on that saying we are to edify in love. Since we are all one body-doesn't a body work better if it's working together and caring for itself. As Christians we are to lay aside the things that our flesh wants to take up and fight about with our brother or sister in Christ. We are to edify one another and care for one another-we are all of one body.

So how exactly do we do this? I don't know about you, but when I'm really upset about something it is very hard for me to stop and remember to forbear right away. Sometimes it seems it would be almost impossible to do with certain people who get under my skin. Well, as always, God shows us how to do the things he has asked us to do. Verse 22 says, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man..." So each day we are to put off that old man-that old nature that wants to take up arms at every little thing and defend itself. Verse 23, "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;" Take a new mind about things. This comes by yielding to the Holy Spirit which is in us, and letting the Bible speak to us and show us how to live. Finally, verse 24 "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Put on the new nature-dead to self, and alive to Christ. If we let Him live through us, then it is surely possible. We have a choice. We can react through the old nature or by His grace and Holy Spirit we can choose to react the way God wants us to react-with love and forbearance.

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

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