I move into breaking down Ephesians 4 in this blog. There is one central theme. Ephesians 4, as well as part of Ephesians 5, will teach us how to live. There come four basic commands.
- Walk in Unity- Eph 4:1-6
- Use Spiritual Gifts- Eph 4:7-16
- Act Like a New Man- Eph 4:17-24
- Don’t Grieve the Holy Spirit- Eph 4:25
What does it mean to walk in unity?
Paul had been changed on the road to Damascus. This was evident by the way he lived. Documented history confirms this. He went from being a persecutor to being persecuted. With Paul as our example, our lives should also show evidence that we are walking amongst the living and not the dead. We should no longer choose the patterns of this world. It sounds overwhelming, but God hasn’t left us alone in this. Just how do I know?
The Spirit is Like a Sprouting Seed
He has given us the Holy Spirit, who is the seed that suddenly sprouts, bearing witness to God that we belong to Him.
This truth is astounding!
Upon recognition of this, one moves to lowliness. Humility. These are essentials in order to have a proper foundation for the Christian life. Without them, your structure will be weak and unstable.
A good method for self-examination is to ask yourself these two questions:
- Do you believe you are you humble?
- Would other people consider you humble?
This task is difficult for those in Western Civilization, because our world view stems from both the Greek and the Roman empires, who considered lowliness a great weakness.
True humility is gentleness, which can be characterized by self-control, which bears a condition of restraint, which suggests self-control. Do you see where I am going with this? Self-control bears evidence of a strong character, not a weak one. Humility is not to be confused with low self esteem or a poor self image. These characteristics are negative and unrelated to humility.
Longsuffering must be equated with self-control as well, as it bears evidence of patience, but not just patience. It is a type of patience that claims no revenge when wronged and doesn’t pay evil for evil. This is a quality we may spend all of our lives trying to attain.
It is freeing to cherish that through the Holy Spirit and Jesus, I can have peace with God. What better gift could I receive in my entire life? What more do I want? I must live in peace and unity. It is this unity and peace that magnifies Christ and draws people to Him.
The next aspect we are taught is to use our spiritual gifts. Just keep that thought in the back of your mind. I will cover it in a separate blog next week, as it is a lengthy subject. It must be looked at, so we will do it thoroughly.
Act Like a New Man
How is the life of a man whose mind is separated from God futile?
People that live a life detached from God are deceived. Things in their view are blurry and dark; they can’t see the truth. Apart from the truth, people live in ignorance, and chase the wrong things. When this life comes to an end, they will walk away with nothing, and will probably blame God.
In fact, the greed and lust that rule them corrupt them more and more.
For those of us that shed the old man, we have had our minds renewed as we have clothed ourselves in Christ. This means, God no longer sees Jori when He looks at me. He sees Jesus. I am dressed like Jesus.
Don’t Grieve the Holy Spirit
If we don’t follow the above, if we don’t clothe ourselves in Christ, we will grieve the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 4, Paul speaks of lying and anger. What is the specific anger he is talking about?
In the Greek this word is “parogismo.” It means violent irritation, the kind of anger that acts out leading one to sin. In ancient culture, this violent irritation would be most prevalent by the Paterfamilias who was used to getting his way all the time. Ask yourself, how do you behave when you don’t get your way? Are you irritated? Does it make you speak harshly, or worse, do things you regret? This is the kind of anger Paul condemns. Little children behave like this, but we are not little children.
How are we to speak?
With edification, building up one another. We work with our hands to produce something good, Paul says. So our words should do likewise. Bottom line, if our words aren’t producing something good and profitable, we ought not to say them. Again, it is not saying we can’t have confrontation or disagreements. It is the manner in which we confront and disagree. It must be constructive and moving our unity forward. In Ephesians 4, we are guided to be tenderhearted and forgiving, because we were forgiven much more.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…