Following Orders

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Ephesians 4:25-32

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. (v. 30)

People sometimes complain that Christianity is negative, but so is any teaching concerned with daily living. Sometimes you do just have to say “No.” In this section of Ephesians Paul gives commands for practical Christian living, some positive and some negative. Particularly he is concerned with words, for these have lasting effect in themselves, apart from the way they can lead into actions.

Negatively, we are commanded not to lie, steal, use evil, filthy, slanderous or malicious talk, or give way to bitterness, wrath, or wrangling. Positively, we are commanded to tell the truth, be careful with anger, work honestly, speak graciously, and be kind and forgiving. Christians are people who are “under orders.”

All these apostolic injunctions are summed up in a single command, a command to be taken very seriously indeed: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” He—the Spirit is a “he,” not an “it“—comes to live in us when we first come to Christ, and he is the Holy Spirit. He is a Person with sensitive feelings who hates sin with a total loathing. The cross shows just how much God hates sin, and if we want him to live in us we need to take great care to follow orders and avoid sin in all forms.

PRAYER

Holy Spirit, make me sensitive to you in thought, word, and action. Amen.