Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.Ephesians 4:24-29
Continuing with the analogy of clothes, if we take clothes off; we have to put clothes on. So Paul opens this section with the comment about putting on the new nature. You were created to be righteous and holy so put on that new nature. Supplant the old with the new. Notice what Paul then does following his first comment. From that point on it is matter of exchanging one thing for the other.
- Stop telling lies / / tell the truth
- Quit stealing / / use your hands for good hard work
- Quit stealing / / give generously
- Don’t use foul or abusive language / / speak good, helpful and encouraging words
These responses are opposites to the extreme. Especially in the case of “not stealing but give generously”. In other words go the extreme to restore what you took – to right wrongs. Don’t just change your clothes for something that was similar to your old wardrobe, have a total make-over. Go in the opposite direction to the extreme. If we choose to stay close to the dividing line and change a ” little” we run the risk of being drawn back to what we were. After all we were still living close to it. It is far better to stay as far from the dividing line as possible. In which case, as Paul says, don’t steal rather give generously. When you do that you will be far from what you were. Doing that puts so much distance between what you were and what you are now that it will be so much harder to go back to what you were. Like Paul says you were created to be like God. So do that. Go the extra mile. Hang it all, go the extra light year. Step out of this galaxy into another one. Be so different from what you were that you will never want to go back there
Many have asked me over the years, effectively: how close to the line can I get and yet still be saved? Wrong way of thinking. Rather think: how far from that line can you go? Be extravagantly God-like. That is what your Heavenly Father would do. Be more like Him.
Don’t worry I haven’t omitted the anger issue. I am not dealing with it in this Gem because I want to devote the whole of the next Gem to the issue of anger. Try not to go to bed angry tonight before we deal with it. Remember in one part of the world the sun has gone down already.
See what you can find out about it before we face (our) anger tomorrow.
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.Mark Twain
Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.Anon
Men with good intentions make promises. Men with character keep them.A R Bernard
Thoughts shape a man, choices make a man, and actions reveal a man!Rick Godwin