Paul continues to tell the people about the kinds of behavior they need to rid themselves of and closes off the passage with ways they should behave instead.
28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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.
As Paul closes out this fourth chapter of Ephesians, he is very clear about the type of activities and attitudes we need to rid ourselves of. Paul not only talks about what we need to get rid of but what we need to replace them with. In verse 28 Paul reminds us that we are not to steal. He then follows it with specific instructions of what to do instead of stealing – to work, not just to provide for ourselves, but in order to have surplus to share with those in need. How well do you share your abundance with those in need? We work hard to provide for our families and to have the things we want, but do we have too much? Do we share with those in need?
Paul again addresses our speech. He not only tells us to not let unwholesome talk come from us but adds that our words should build others up. What was your speech like this past week? Did your words tear people down or build people up? When we continue to live our old lives and old ways of satisfying ourselves versus living our lives for Christ, we grieve the Holy Spirit.
Verse 31 gives a laundry list of attitudes we should be rid of if we are living into our new creations in Christ. Paul doesn’t just admonish us in this passage, he builds us up by encouraging us in verse 32 to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. He tells us to be kind and compassionate. Who in your life needs to experience your kindness and compassion today? Who in your life needs to experience your forgiveness? Walk out your faith today by showing kindness and compassion, using your words to build up another and by forgiving others the way Christ forgives you.