Thursday, June 3, 2010

Replace Bitterness with Servant-Hearted Love from God

   Eph. 4:31    Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
   Eph. 5:1    Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Remember that the original manuscripts did not contain chapter divisions and verse. This is part of the same narrative. God prompts Paul to continue reminding the Ephesian church and us to 'get rid' of something. The KJV says to let this all be 'put away from' us. IN the DRBY version it says to let it be removed from us. Suffice it to say that these things: bitterness, rage, anger, harshness, slander can be removed from us if we are willing.  How do we have this happen? We 'permit it by submitting to the will of God. We permit it by submitting to the love of Christ. We permit it by surrendering to the Lordship of God's Holy Spirit, ruling our decisions and actions from within the new nature He is building for us. When we do so, the wonderful alternative described in 4:32 becomes real for us. We become kind. We become tenderhearted. We become forgiving. We replicate toward others the type of forgiveness that God has shown to us

We begin to 'imitate God in the same way that children who love and respect their father imitate his behavior.  The life we then live, according to Eph. 5:2, will be 'filled with love.'  We will be 'following the example of Christ.' His example was to sacrifice self interests in favor of blessing others. That is not in our old nature but it will be in the new nature we permit God to build up within us. How is it going today?

Your Servant in Christ's Love
Dan Elliott

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