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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Ephesians 4.29-31

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

There are many painful words in these verses: any, only, all, every. Paul loves his absolutes. Yet again, we are reminded of how high the standard is. Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) Guard your mouth, your mind, your thoughts, your intentions. What feelings are bubbling under the surface? It's not only what comes out that's the problem. Repressed bitterness left to stew is just as bad. An invisible rotting of the bones and poisoning of the spirit. It all needs to go. But amidst the bad rubbish that needs to be riddanced is a sin of an altogether more serious kind: do not grieve the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Jesus says that those who blaspheme against the Spirit cannot be forgiven. We cannot receive forgiveness if we do not confess the deity of our helper and our need of him if we are to come to Christ to be forgiven in the first place. But what about us? How do we deny him? How do we grieve him? What makes him sad? Where do I squash the still, small voice of conviction? When do I reject the wise advice of my teacher? When do I feel the niggle of guilt in my belly and opt for self righteousness instead? The Holy Spirit is grieved when we ignore him, when we forget his equal importance within the godhead. Let us press on to acknowledge him today. Stop and be still. Which way is the wind blowing?

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