Sunday, March 25, 2018

Getting Rid of Bitterness

Today's Reading:
1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11
Ephesians 4:17-32
Psalm 109:1-20
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Focus Verses: Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Fellowship and friendship among Christians requires care and effort. There are many things that threaten to destroy unity within the body of Christ. Paul warns the Ephesians of some of the things they must guard against: falsehood, failure to speak truthfully, uncontrolled anger, holding grudges, stealing, laziness, selfishness, careless words, bitterness, rage, fighting, slander, lack of compassion, ignoring the Spirit, and the failure to forgive. All these things give the devil a foothold and sabotage Christian community.

Response and Action:
I want to both enjoy and extend the blessing of Christian fellowship. I understand that this will require effort, humility, and obedience on my part. I will strive to live with integrity. I will speak truthfully and carefully because I want my words to be helpful and beneficial to others. I will keep my attitude and my temper in check. I will not allow anger to slip into rage or bitterness. I will not hold grudges, but will instead learn to forgive and extend grace. I will do my best to be a responsible and hardworking person. I will cultivate a compassionate and generous attitude toward others. I will look to the Holy Spirit for the guidance, strength, and transformation I need to be a life-giving member of the body of Christ.

O God, protect your people from the sins and weaknesses that destroy fellowship. By the power and grace of your Holy Spirit, shape and create a community of Christ-followers that honor you, love each other, and bless the world. Forgive us for the times we are careless and allow anger, malice, and selfishness divide us from each other. Help us to turn away from careless words, ugly attitudes, and foolish actions that cause dissension. Give us hearts that seek to love you with everything we've got, and seek to love others as ourselves. Through Christ, I pray. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Philippians 2:1-4
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Life Together
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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