I insist on it in the Lord

Paul makes this statement in Ephesians 4:17.  Paul says, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in their futility of their thinking.”  By the inspiration of God Paul is telling the Christians in Ephesus that they must no longer live like the rest of the world.  In fact he says they must give up even thinking like the world thinks.  This was a great teaching moment for the Ephesian church.  These were words they needed to hear.  The message is just as valuable for us today as it was for the Ephesian church in Paul’s day.  Instead of the world determining standards God sets the standard.  Our direction in life is determined by who gets our attention God or the world.

Paul gives five points of advise we would do well to heed.  Consider the things outlined in the remainder of Ephesians chapter 4.

  1. Don’t speak evil of one another.   v. 25-27   Wouldn’t it be a great life if we never spoke evil of one another?  Paul says you are members of one body.  He went on to say if you get angry don’t let the sun set on that anger.  When we let anger dwell in our hearts we give the devil a foothold.  All Satan needs is a place to get a start.  Just think how much trouble could be averted if we made it our practice to never speak evil of one another!
  2. Steal no more but rather work.  v 28.  There was a purpose in their work.  The Ephesian Christians were to work so that they would have something to give to  those in need.  Is it possible that much of the world’s problems are centered around the concept of trying to get something for nothing?  I fear that in today’s world the concept of an honest days pay for an honest days work is being lost.  This country did not invent the concept of work God did.  We would do well to heed God’s law!
  3. Control your tongue.  v 29-30.  This is a difficult command to implement in our life.  Paul said there was to be no bad out of the mouth.  Instead we speak only that which builds up.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to be around people who only spoke words that built us up?  If I want to be torn down I can get that anywhere.  It is only under the influence of God I can receive words that build up my soul.
  4. Do away with bitterness, rage and anger. v 31  It is hard to lay these things down.  Sometimes we pride ourselves in holding to the anger.  God is telling us that the world holds on to these things.  We don’t need to go there.  Lay this down at the feet of Jesus.
  5. Replace the bad with the good.  v 32  When you lay the anger and bitterness down you must replace it with good.  Instead of being angry and bitter replace it with kindness and compassion.  Just as the Lord has forgiven you, forgive others.  I remember an experiment that was done in a third grade science class many years ago.  My teacher in that class was Barbara White.  In the class she took a metal can.  Mrs. White put a rubber stopper in the can.  With a hand pump she removed the air from the can.  As the air was removed the can crumpled due to the pressure from the outside.  This is how we will be if we attempt to remove the bad without replacing it with the good.  We can’t take Satan out unless we let Christ in.

God intends churches and Christians stand out like a light on a hill.  We stand out because we are different from the world.  The drawing power of the Gospel is not found in dynamic worship or even magnificent buildings.  The power that draws is through individual Christians as they walk in the footsteps of Christ.  Actions will always speak louder than words.  Paul has told us this, no, he has insisted on it in the Lord.


6 Responses to I insist on it in the Lord

  1. Guy says:

    Dell, like most things in God’s eyes, the command to be angry and not sin is the “Ideal” that we all should strive for as long as we live. However, being human, it is a goal that we cannot reach in reality. That is why John says that as long as we continue to strive for God’s perfection, the blood of Jesus will continue to cover us from ALL our sins.

    Because we cannot reach perfection, even in our anger, Grace will cover our shortcomings, as long as we strive to abide in Jesus the very best we can.

    Also, what you have not addressed in this post is our causing others to be angry by our own actions. When we cause resentment in the hearts of others, we are just as guilty of falling short as the one who gets angry and holds onto it for longer than a day. Resentment is the number one offender within the church today.

    The resentments we harbor and the resentments we cause. It is clear that a life which harbors anger and resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. Holding on to anger causes us humans to squander the wonderful hours God has given us to worthwhile to our fellow humans and ourselves. It is true that when we harbor these feelings that we are indeed shouting ourselves off to the light of God’s spirit.

    The trouble we have as being human is really a simple one if we are honest with ourselves: Self-will. When we allow our self-will, to operate freely, we are usually in collision with someone or something, even when our motives are good. Each of us likes to have things our way. We like to run the show. We like to arrange the lights, the play, the scenery, the rest of the people in the play, and we are forever trying to do so. If the play does not, does not come off the way we think it should or the people do not respond the way we wished, and then we start the anger process within our hearts. We might even be quite virtuous in our appeal to others for cooperation or we might turn mean, egotistical in thinking our way is the only way, selfish and dishonest.

    In trying to make these arrangements turn out the way we in vision them, what normally happens? The play does not come off as we expect and we exert ourselves all the more in trying to make things happen our way – the way we want them to be. With each setback to our vision, we become even more demanding or gracious then the last. But the play no longer suits us because it was not completed our way. Then we blame others and do not accept that we might be somewhat at fault, but we are sure that others are more to blame.
    This attitude is a form of anger in our hearts. This attitude is expressed to the world through our anger, indignation, self-pitying, silencing of others, withdrawal from others, and more effort to control others.

    What is the basic problem then behind our “justified” anger? Is it not really fear that we will lose something we think we should obtain or fear that we won’t get what we think we should have? In either case, we are being self-seekers and not really working towards the good of all concerned. We are operating out of the delusion that we can force satisfaction and happiness out of the world about us. Is it not clear to the rest of the world that these are the things we really want?

    Selfishness and self-centeredness is the root of our anger problems. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of other people and then we get mad when they retaliate against us. We then blame them even more and try to encourage others to choose sides. Sometimes we are hurt seemingly without provocation, but, if we are truly honest with ourselves, will find that at some time in the past, by our choices, actions, comments, attitudes, have made decisions based on self which placed us in the position to be offended.

    Again, I personally, know of no human who can live up to what you are saying is a command and the assertion you are making that humans can attain this form of perfection within our lives. The only group of people that I know of who have come the closes to this Ideal was the Amish who chose to forgive when their children were manicured in school a few years back.

    Who among us has not been angry and sinned in the past? Who among us will not be angry and sin in the future? The answer is none of us and that is why we have Grace from God through Jesus Christ.

    John also says that when we say we do not have anger that we are a liar and the truth of God is not in us.


  2. Guy this is not my command. It is given by God through Paul. The command is not do not be angry. The command is do not allow anger to remain in your heart. The command is refuse to harbor anger. God is telling us DO NOT hold onto anger. Get rid of it even before the sun goes down. Paul says in Ephesians 4:31 and 32 to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger. He then says to replace it with kindness and compassion.

    Guy you and I have no argument in regard to anger. I cannot claim this teaching concerning anger as my own. It originated with God the Father brought to us by Paul through the Holy Spirit. Paul was definate in his teaching He said,”So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord” As a simple servant I repeat the teaching of God. I refuse to argue with God. Perhaps the reason you know of no individual who can live up to this is because too many in this world enjoy being angry. This is one of the reasons Christians stand out as a light on the hill. We are not to even think like the world. What we see in the world is not our standard. God sets the standard and He said lay down anger and bitterness. Who am I to argue with God?

  3. Jan says:

    Wonderful post! Happy Thanksgiving–we all have so much to be thankful for.
    I’ll bet Mrs. White would be pleased you used her illustration in your message!

  4. Guy says:

    Del you see to not be able to see the trees for the forest. I know it is God’s wish and desire. However, I also know human nature. We humans are not perfect and we fail at this command and many others within our lives. That is why we have Grace. None of us meet this command. None!


  5. Guy not God’s wish and desire but God’s command. There is a difference.

  6. Doug says:

    Guy I think the saying is forrest for the trees. You miss the point. This isn’t a command that says don’t be angry. This is a command telling you not to hold anger. Open your mind.

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