Summary: Live a life of Love and if you are doing anything that keeps you from doing that, Stop It!
Don’t stop me if you heard this. A young man goes to the doctor and says, ”Doc, it hurts when I do this.” He replied, “Don’t do that!” Badumbump!
Today’s scripture lesson is simply summed up into one simple sentence. “If you are a Christian, act like it.” Wow, what insight. Let’s take a few moments and look at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians chapter 4 25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Speak the truth. Stop lying! This is probably the easiest of all sins. Almost without thinking, like a knee jerk reaction, we make up lies. Most we consider harmless. We lie to cover our actions. We lie to smooth things over. We even convince ourselves that we lie for the other person’s well being. But thou shall not lie is the 9th commandment. Equal with you shall not kill. If you are in the habit of lying, stop it!
26Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. Ok everybody gets angry. Anger can be healthy. It is how we react to anger that can be a problem. First there is the physical consequences to acting in anger, like putting your hand through a closed window, punching the wall or hitting another person. These things can cost big time. It costs pain, it costs to replace what we break and it can cost us respect, our family, our friends and even our freedom.
Anger and cancer have some things in common. They fester and grow with time. And both can destroy your life. And both when dealt with early, can be removed without much or any permanent damage.
Paul knows that everyone gets angry. It is part of the human DNA. But it is how we decide to react to it that matters. Sure we get angry but we must deal with it right away. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t let it become part of who you are. Deal with it early and let it go. Yes, I know it is much easier to say than to do. And in many cases you may be right. But in the end, holding onto anger kills our souls slowly. It affects our personality and our faith. And if left unchecked we become bitter miserable people who no one wants to be around. And of course, for that we become angry. If we let it, it becomes a pit that we may never climb out.
As a Christian, we have help here. We have prayer, and a Holy Spirit that can change us from the inside out. If you are angry, pray. Put the matter into God’s hands. Trust that He will do what is best. Believe it or not, sometimes we get angry when we are in the wrong. Trust and tell God how you feel, Ask Him to help you let go of your anger. And talk to your Christian friends. Talk to your church family, talk to your pastor. Sometimes, we have tunnel vision and need a broader perspective. And once we see this it helps us let go of anger. Oh, and if none of that works, seek professional help. We are one body. And sometimes we need to seek out the person whom God has gifted with professional skills to help people work through anger issues that are too deep for us to deal with ourselves despite our friends and faith community. And yes, there are some issues even I as a pastor am unqualified to deal with. And I do refer people to Christian counselors that are more qualified than I am. We are blessed with having some very good Christian counselors in our area.
The next but of advice from Paul is very important. Do not make room for the devil. Ok, here is a simple fact. Sometimes, it is not always us. There is a spiritual battle going on every day. And Satan, does his very best to tempt us back into his domain. This is important; the devil does not bother with non-Christians. Hear this again. He does not bother with non-Christians. The devil does not desire that which is already his. The devil does not waste time on people who are already hell bound. But when you accept Jesus into your heart, Jesus claims you and Satan looses title. At that moment, you become Satan’s target. At that moment you will find temptation around every corner. Satan tempted Jesus Himself. And he did it at the very moment Jesus was at his weakest. The same is true for us. Every day we must resist the devil and strive to live righteous lives. Once again, easier said than done. But we have prayer, the Holy Spirit and each other to help keep us on the right track.