‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.’ Ephesians 4.31
Throughout this chapter of Ephesians, Paul writes at length about the implications of having Christ within us. At times it is tempting to regard this as a list of rules and regulations; do this but don’t do that! Actually Paul is urging us to take the reality of Jesus within us seriously; this is not simply a comfort for us, but is also meant to be a blessing for others.
Paul encourages us to ‘get rid of all bitterness…’ How can we do this? Bitterness is not a characteristic of Jesus, so when it becomes evident in us it must be coming from elsewhere, and the same is true of all negative emotions. When we find them rising up, this is the time to remember the presence of Jesus within us, and do our best to ensure that it is his nature that flows out of us.
Take a moment to reflect on yesterday, or the day that has just passed. Are there times when you sensed you were reacting to people or to situations with negative emotions? As you reflect on those times, how could you have found the presence of Christ within you so that his emotions could have shone in place of yours? Now look forward to the day ahead – are there particular moments when you will need to draw upon him. See him in those situations, and remember to draw upon his presence in those times.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission