When I first read a passage such as Ephesians 4, the first thing that comes to mind is: how is it that the church is not unified and why can we not all get on with each other? After all, we have been adopted into our heavenly Father’s family! Then I remember that we are all fallen sinners and not perfect this side of heaven. It is our fallen nature that Satan prods and pushes at to create disunity in the church and between believers.
How do we prevent disunity and guard ourselves against Satan? Most importantly Jesus intercedes for us with the Father; but we need to grow in maturity to attain the fullness of Christ. We grow in maturity by reading, studying and most critically, learning from scripture. What is different from the world is that as we mature in the faith, grow in our knowledge of God and come to understand more of His character, we realise how short we fall of the perfection of Christ. This should make us humble – the mark of a believer is humbleness and a willingness to use the gifts that God has given us to build up the body and glorify God.
Paul also speaks in this passage about speaking the truth and not allowing our anger to make us sin. Both these issues relate to how we use our tongues. If I think back on my life, some of the lowest points have followed the unwise use of my tongue. One of the regular prayer points that I have programmed into my prayer diary (PrayerMate) is a prayer and reminder to me to be careful about my tongue. My tongue can break down relationships, and if not used with discretion and wisdom, does not bring glory to God. In fact, I dishonour Him and make Him appear small in the eyes of the world – this is what Satan is striving to do.
‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4: 31-32)