Sunday, May 28, 2023
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Notice the key word in these two verses: "instead"!
Living in healthy relationships with others requires more than getting rid of bad stuff.  Yes, we need to "take out the trash" and get rid of the filth in our lives. The garbage in our hearts pollutes and ruins our relationships.  We must get rid of things like "bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander" along with all types of evil and selfish behaviors. Yet getting rid of these relationship-ruining words and behaviors won't lead us to deepened and holy relationships. They amount to taking the trash out of our lives.
When we notice the "instead," in our verses, the Holy Spirit can open our eyes to a fundamental truth. We must replace negative thoughts, speech, and behaviors with words, traits, and actions consistent with the Holy Spirit and the fruit the Spirit produces in us.  We need to take out the trash in our lives and bring in the proper groceries for our souls so we can grow in grace inspired by the Spirit. And our target, our goal, for these positive words and behaviors is to honor our Father in Heaven, Who has blessed us with His grace, mercy, and forgiveness. 
Let's get the trash out of our lives and replace it with the good fruit of God's presence as the Spirit transforms us into disciples who resemble their Teacher, Savior, and Lord! 
Almighty God and Abba Father, help me as I seek to have the Spirit lead my life and conform it to be more like Jesus. I want the Spirit's fruit to be evident in my words and actions as I submit my will to Your reign in my life and as I seek the Kingdom of God, and the children of God, as my life's priorities. In Jesus' name, I ask for the Spirit's power and Savior's nature to be present in my thoughts, words, and actions. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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