let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. [ephesians 4:31-32]
what a rich verse to sit in today. take a moment – say five moments – and sit in this verse. right now pray. ask God to remind you that his presence is with you. ask God to speak to you. what is he asking you to believe? what is he asking you to do that you can only do through the finished work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit?
1) removing bitterness from our hearts today will be a challenge. not letting wrath and anger move us to sin – while removing bitterness, will be a double challenge. not desiring any malice (ill will) toward anyone in any of our thoughts – while removing bitterness from our hearts and not letting wrath and anger move us to sin – impossible. at some point, we will need the Spirit to press us into the finished work of Jesus to live in God’s love and live out God’s love according to this verse.
2) forgiving another today from a past hurt or a hurt that will happen today – will be a massive challenge for almost all of us. forgiving them the way God in Christ has forgiven us – impossible. God has completely forgiven us in Christ for all our sins past present, and future. (col 2:13-14) God has removed our sin as far is the east is from the west. not forgotten (can God forget?) but it will never show up on your record again. never be brought up again. (ps 103:12; 1 cor 13:5) we cannot forgive in this manner on our own accord. we need the power of the Spirit, moving through the work of Jesus in us if we are to be kind in our hurt and forgive today.
today Lord, cause me to believe the power of your Spirit in me through the work of Jesus is all-powerful to still bitterness, control anger, and mute my desire for ill will. cause me to believe i can forgive as God in Christ has forgiven me. and Lord, Jesus who lived perfect love and forgiveness lives in me. allow his love to move my heart, my mouth, and my actions to love today for your name and your fame! in the name of Jesus – amen.
~ john ryan