Replenish My Attitude

Ephesians 4:31

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Sometimes I know I have the worst attitude. In no time at all, for the pettiest of reasons, my inner life can resemble a toxic waste dump. Forgive me if I’m being too graphic, but it can be like I have an unflushed toilet in my spirit. And what’s floating around in that bowl? Well, we have a tidy list right here in this one verse from Ephesians. Let’s look at the words and relevant parts of their dictionary.com definitions…

Bitterness
…having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloe; hard to bear; grievous; distressful; causing pain; piercing; stinging; characterized by intense antagonism or hostility; resentful or cynical…

Wrath
…strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire; vengeance or punishment as the consequence of anger…

Anger
…a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire…

Clamor
…a loud uproar, as from a crowd of people; a vehement expression of desire or dissatisfaction; popular outcry; any loud and continued noise…

Slander
…defamation; calumny; a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report; defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures…

Malice
…desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness; evil intent on the part of a person who commits a wrongful act injurious to others…

Quite a list, eh? The Holy Spirit works to get these flushed out of our hearts. The message of Advent and Christmas is at odds with this list. The birth of Jesus Christ opposes the existence of these sin-based postures within me. I am told to let them be put away. It is interesting to see what my part is. It’s your part too. It’s great to sing songs and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s great to attend Christmas services with candles and communion. These are good things. First, however, I have to put some bad things inside me away. I have to flush. This is my only response to the work of Christ in me. He cleans. He purifies. He sets free. His presence and influence show up first in transforming my attitude and inner life. Then, and only then, can I move on, move forward, to the next verse…

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.