The apostle Paul wrote extensively about the character and conduct of believers. He said that as Christians, we are to “walk in a manner worthy of [our] calling” (Eph. 4:1) and to “be imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1). In his letter to the church at Ephesus, he explained what it meant to live a godly life.
First of all, we must curtail some of our old habits and behaviors and replace them with new ones that are acceptable to God. The acts of the flesh are no longer to be a part of us—we now have a new nature and must conduct ourselves accordingly. Galatians 5:19-21 lists 15 specific behaviors that have to cease. These include enmities, strife, outbursts of anger, disputes, and dissensions. Notice the role anger plays in each of these. It fuels disagreements and inflames antagonism. And second, if we get angry, we need to apologize quickly (Eph. 4:26).
The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) should replace ungodly thoughts and actions. If we have been quick-tempered, then we need to gain patience. If our anger runs hot, then we are to become peaceful people. Foolishness in speech must give way to the wisdom of Christ. Change is possible because sin’s power over us has been permanently broken. We have been set free to live in a way pleasing to God.
We all struggle with some form of ungodly behavior, but happily, we need not continue in it. As new creations, we no longer have to be defined by who we were before salvation (2 Cor. 5:17). To exhibit the righteousness that is yours, cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s transforming work.
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