“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27
This is a reminder of our position in Christ, a result of our redemption that should be exhibited in our new life in Christ. In Christ, our old nature has died and now we are clothed in His new nature and life. We also become more Christ-like in character and attitude as we grow and mature in Him. Therefore, we can understand God’s truths and apply them to our lives without excuse. In so doing, our marriages will become more triumphant not only to one another and our families, then also to the glory of our Lord (Rom. 6:1-14; 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; Gal. 2:20-21; Eph. 1:3; Phil. 3:10-20; 2:1-101 John 3:2).
Let’s look at this keyword, Anger. It centers around all that most people do that can come out bad, a word steeped in emotion and unhinged response. Whereas a Christian, we have a higher calling with it. The emotion in of itself is not bad, as it can be used for good motivations too. Even Jesus got rightly angry in Matthew 24. Our call, in life and here marriage, is do not hold on to anger, or it will fester and become unjust. Then all is will do is bring us unpleasantness and bitterness. When this happens, we must seek to break the bonds that destroy others and us. Our beliefs must affect our behaviors; our language must affect and reflect our faith. If not, our faith and thinking are skewed or even absent (Psalm 4:4; Isa. 63:10; Hos. 7:6; Eph. 4:31; James 1:19-20; 3:9-10).
What counters anger is the Fruit of the Spirit, in this case in this passage, being kind and compassionate or having tender mercies. This is a Fruit produces a readiness to respond with righteousness and thoughtful consideration beyond how people treat us or how they may or may not deserve it (Matt. 11:29-30; Rom. 2:1-4; 12:9-21; 2 Cor. 6:6; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-14; 1 Tim. 3:4; 1 John 3:16-23).
So, when we are caring, we hold back the emotion and the escalation of it. Our empathy of another person outside of basic selfish nature will be the brakes that slow down anger.
This will come about when we see our spouse in the light of who they are in Christ, not who they are in our irritation.
It is to recognize, emotionally identify with, and interact with those who are hurting, and helping them by gathering with others with the abilities and resources to help them (Job 29:13; Isa. 40:11; Matt. 9:36; 14:14; Mark 1:41; Luke 6:36; 10:25-37; 19:4; Rom. 12:1-2; James 5:11; 1 Peter 3:8). But how can I do this? This passage gives us the clue, know that God forgave you. We are to extend the forgiveness to others, to our spouse, because Christ had forgiven us. (John 6:37, 44, 65;13:1; 15:16; Rom. 5:1-8; Eph. 1:4-5; Phil. 1:6; Col. 1:21-22; 2:10; 3:1-14; 1 John 4:9-11)!
How to I apply this passage?
Realize that God loves you and accepts you more powerfully, passionately, purposefully, and deeply than you could ever fathom!
You are secure. God “guarantees” you with a clear, powerful, loving, impacting, and lasting relationship with Him. When you are in Christ, God is pleased with you! Now see your spouse in this light of how God sees them. You have no need to fear; you are both people of deep value and worth before our Lord! You are both forgiven because of Christ and His righteousness that covers you, not because of your deeds or performance. You are unique and complete in Him; and because of this, you are each a special person whom God loves and will use to further impact His kingdom. He does this for all of who are His.
How do we do this in a life of hardship, setbacks, busyness, and uncertainty?
Simply by allowing the Word–Christ’s presence–to dwell in us, and learn His instruction, so the peace of Christ will rule in our hearts and minds and translate into our actions.
It is all about our spiritual growth impacting us so it impacts those around us positively and in love. Get in His Word more and commune with Him by prayer. And a good fellowship is also crucial. The key is to know that Christ is sufficient, so we can trust in Him–trust in Him alone (Read all of Eph. 4)!
Take an inventory of your life, thinking, behaviors, then go through All of Ephesians 4, look at the key words, and ask:
- What do I need to put off?
- What do I need to put on?
- How do I do that?
- How do I fail in this area?
- How can I do this better?