Life is hard.  Pain and suffering surrounds us.  It is impossible to avoid.  In Ephesians, Paul provides us with Rules for the New Life:

Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil.

The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his [own] hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need.

No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.

All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice.

[And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:25-32

These are not easy rules.  But even in these rules, there is recognition that we will be angry.  Life sometimes stinks.  We will be angry.  But Paul warns do not let the sun set on your anger, do not leave room for the devil.  Be angry.  But reconcile with God.  Don’t go to bed angry.  Anger creates weakness; it creates cracks for the devil to infiltrate.  Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit.  We are sealed with God’s Spirit.  We cannot rid ourselves of Him, no matter how hard we may sometimes try.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.  Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving.  Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.  So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.  Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, or it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says:

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:1-14

We have all been darkness.  We have all been in darkness.  God calls us to the light.  This life is temporary.  We have a short time to live and love on earth.  We have a short time to fight off the devil and the pain and suffering that exploits our weakness.  This will pass.  Love.  Be thankful.  Expose the darkness — do not hide it away.  Be angry, but do not dwell on the anger.  Bring it back to God.  Live in the light — God’s light.  Jesus has conquered death — we just have to conquer this short life on earth.

Lord,

I do not always understand your ways.  I am sometimes quick to anger.  Forgive me for my weakness.  Forgive me for my doubt when things do not go my way.  I want to live in your light.  I want to live like Christ.  Help me to love more freely.  Help me to reconcile with you when I fail.  It is easy to have faith when things go well.  Keep my faith strong when things go wrong.

 

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