As we continue to explore what it looks like to “put off the old self” and “put on the new,” we will explore the practical life direction that Paul gave to the Jesus Followers in Ephesus. We explore the first 4 practical pieces of advice and direction found in Ephesians 4.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
There is so much practical guidance for permanently moving away from the “old self” and moving toward the “new self” in Ephesians 4. So today we are focusing our attention on the first four pieces of advice.
- Put off falsehood and speak truthfully
The basis for any successful attempt at living this life begins with the commitment of standing on the foundation of Truth. Truth is something that many people question these days. “What is truth? Is it “black and white” or is subjective? For the Jesus Follower, that truth is founded on the Word of God and the direction of His Holy Spirit. The apostle John made it very clear that Jesus was the living example of this very foundation.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
- In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angryReconciliation and forgiveness are the two words that come to mind when I read this piece of advice from Paul. This “new self” is one that is not marked by a large ego, but willing to admit when he/she is wrong. It’s not a self deprecating spirit but a spirit of humility and understanding. It’s a life marked by a willingness to “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy (Hebrews 12:14,NIV).”
- Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer
This may seem pretty obvious, but I challenge you to really think about it. Stealing is more than the obvious break in and taking stuff. If you have ever “stretched the truth” on a time card at work, your stealing from your employer. How about those office supplies? “Its just one pen – They have some many and they really are not expensive” This justification does not make it any better. You are still taking something that someone else paid for. I would challenge you to seriously examine your life and try to discover where you might be unknowingly stealing from someone in your life.
- But must work, doing something useful with their own hands
Hard work is the sign of someone who takes quality and dedication seriously. This is the kind of example that Jesus gets excited about.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
When you are working, it is important to remember that everything you do reflects back on the God who loves you. A person who is putting on the “New Self” is one that realizes that when you work, you are working for the Lord and not some guy or for a paycheck. Your work has meaning and purpose to you and to the God who designed you and gave those very gifts. Honor God by doing everything with quality and excellence.
What do you think? Do you have any thoughts about these first for pieces of advice. Comment below…