Don't let the sun go down...

Ephesians 4:26-32 (New Living Translation)

26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 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.

30 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.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Getting Rid of Anger

The apostle Paul wrote extensively about the character and conduct of believers. He urged Christians to "live a life worthy of [our] calling" (Eph. 4:1) and to be "imitators of God" (Eph. 5:1). In his letters to the churches, he explained what it meant to live a godly life.

First of all, we must curtail some of our habits and behaviors and replace them with new ones that are acceptable to God. The acts of the "flesh" are no longer to be a part of us. We now have a new nature and must conduct ourselves accordingly. Galatians 5:19-21 lists 15 specific behaviors that have to cease. These include enmities, strife, outbursts of anger, disputes, and dissensions. Notice the role anger plays in each of these. It fuels disagreements and inflames antagonism. And second, if we get angry, we need to apologize quickly (Eph. 4:26).

The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) is to replace ungodly thoughts and actions. If we have been quick-tempered, then we need to gain patience. If our anger runs hot, then we are to become peaceful people. Foolishness in speech must give way to the wisdom of Christ. Change is possible because sin's power over us has been permanently broken. We have been set free to live in a way pleasing to God.

We all struggle with some form of ungodly behavior, but happily, we don't have to continue in it. As new creations, we no longer have to be defined by who we were before salvation (2 Cor. 5:17). To exhibit the righteousness that is yours, cooperate with the Holy Spirit's transforming work.

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