Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ephesians 4:17–32

Lord, bless me with understanding and clarity. Open me to your message and love.

Happy New Year to you dear reader and may God bless you and everything you do this year. I have never been one to make new years resolutions. I know my will power is weak. There is no joy in confirming this each year. However, I must agree that the principle of looking at your life and identifying areas for improvement is sound. There are just so many and where do I start?

As in all his letters, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians provides some very clear instructions on how to life a life in Christ. It is a help desk and Christian instruction book in one. He starts this passage by telling us to stop living only with our mind and intellect. However smart we may think we are, we are all actually pretty ignorant if we rely only on what we know. He suggests that our intellect alone will harden our heart. This will lead to self-protection, and greed and separate us from others and particularly from God.

This is close to home for me. I spent many years in school trying to find rational explanations for everything including God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I have not been successful and have given up. God blessed me the day I gave up. That was the day I discovered my spiritual reality. Paul refers to it as “—being renewed in the spirit of your minds.”

In 4:26 Paul tells us how to deal with anger. He acknowledges that even being renewed in the Spirit does not change our basic nature. It allows us to deal with our nature as God would have us do. Anger is a very human trait and I can speak with authority on this. We are told that anger is “OK” but we cannot sin as a result of that anger. Our behavior to others must not reflect that anger. Anger is an opportunity for the Devil to do his work. We must deny him this opportunity. My mother used to say (yours did also, probably), “if you don’t have anything nice to say – say nothing”. This is so true when you’re angry. Also, we are told to never go to sleep angry. What ever the problem is that is making you angry, DEAL WITH IT!!. That’s easy for Paul to say but so hard for us to do. Oh Well, 2006 offers another year for us to try to get it right.

Again, may God bless my and your efforts to try and get it right.

AMEN
John Dickie

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