Living My Identity

Ephesians 4:25-32. (NIV)

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Now that I know who I am, the Scripture goes into how I need to live. It’s not accidental that this passage comes after three chapters describing who I am in Christ, and half a chapter calling for unity in the church. This is not just a list of rules, but a call to let my identity be reflected in my behavior toward others, and especially toward my brothers and sisters in Christ.

There are a lot of individual points in this list, but I think it can be summed up as; live in love. If the Spirit of God lives in me, than living in love is nothing more than living the truth. This is who I am; who God intended before the world was created that I would be. How amazing that I do not automatically and unthinkingly behave this way, but that God wants me to actively choose it moment by moment! I’m not going to get into the Calvinism/Arminianism debate, but it’s certainly not debatable that I do not always live the way this passage commands. But when I don’t, I am living a lie. And when I do, I cooperate with the Holy Spirit; not as a machine, but rather a partner and coworker with God.


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