Old versus New

So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbours the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,  for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  -Ephesians 4:25-32

Do you remember what your life was like before you met Jesus? I was very good at playing the part as a Christian.  I went to church.  I was an Honour Junior Soldier (young member of the church), Graduate Corps Cadet (teenager), and a Senior Soldier (adult member of the church.  I went to summer camps and even worked there for two summers.  I knew Bible verses and was able to recite them with ease. I was a perfect example of what those in the church want from a young person.  However, I did not really know Jesus as my Saviour.

I remember kneeling at the altar when I was 9 and saying a simple sinner’s prayer.  But it wasn’t until I was 18 that I really gave my life to Jesus at a Youth Councils.  Despite giving my heart and life to Jesus, I still struggled with many sins.  I failed God miserably and it’s because I wasn’t in the Word, I wasn’t praying, I wasn’t following what He desired.  I was saved, I knew I was.  I had that mountain type experience.  Yet, there was something really missing in my life, it’s found here in the passage of scripture above.

I needed Christ and the Holy Spirit to move in my life and change me from the inside out.  I was still lying (I sadly could be very good at this).  I used bad language (mostly at school) and I was living in sin.  I knew God hated sin, but for some reason none of this really clicked in my head he meant these words for me.

I hit rock bottom in my personal life when I was 19.  I failed college and had to leave.  I almost lost my car.  I had no job.  I was lost.  This is when I truly found my way back to Christ. I began reading the Word and studying it.  I told Jesus I wanted him to every part of me, to be Lord of my life, not just my Saviour.  I think this is a major key to growth in holiness as a Christian.  God did an amazing thing in my life and I really changed for the better.  In fact when I was 21 I went to Training College (seminary school for The Salvation Army) and was ordained and commissioned when I was 23.

Paul speaks about our old lives before we met Christ or made him Lord of our lives.  Lies, foul and abusive talk, being controlled by anger, stealing, bitterness, rage and anger, using harsh words, slander and evil behavior all grieve the Holy Spirit.  Anger is a huge issue Paul talks about.  If we are controlled by anger, we are more than likely to lie and to use abusive talk, etc.  God says in Psalm 4:4 to us “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.” We can be angry for the right reasons, for example injustice, however, anger that is against other people for petty things, etc. is not acceptable.  We need to let go of the anger and give it to the Lord before we sin. 

Paul says in Colossians 3:8 “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.”

Now is the time.

Not tomorrow, not later, but now.

God wants us to let go of anger, and bitterness.  When we hold onto anger towards someone and unforgiveness, bitterness grows inside us.  Anger and bitterness causes many health issues and destroys not only relationships but our own physical well-being. Is it really worth staying angry all the time.

How do we do this? All we need to do is talk to God.  Tell him about our struggles.  Tell him how hard it is.  Do you realise it took me 2 years to break the habit of swearing?  It was really difficult.  It does take time, however, if we are trying and working towards holiness, it will be seen.

When we give our lives to Jesus, we should change.  We should become more and more like Christ.  Christian means Christ-like one.  So how should we live? We should always tell the truth.  Instead of stealing or cheating, we should be working hard.  We should give to others.  Our words should be good and helpful.  We should encourage others by our words and our actions. We should be kind and tenderhearted. We should be forgiving.  This may sound like a tall order, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can be more like Christ each day.

Are you the same person today as you were when you first came to Christ? Have you grown in your relationship or have you stalled? Are you holding on to anger, bitterness, and/or rage?  Are you still struggling with lying? What about foul and abusive language or harsh words?

We all struggle and we all need Jesus.  I still struggle in different areas.  I still daily have to ask the Holy Spirit to help me.  I am sure I will be doing this until I meet Jesus face to face. I surrender all to him, and I have to do this daily.

Now is the time.  Now.  It’s your choice.  God bless you.

 

 

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