Ephesians 4:25–32 (NKJV)
25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:25-32
Paul moved from the attitudes and generally evil actions of the unsaved Gentiles to an even more specific list of unholy and undesirable practices for Christians to avoid with all their might. He lists lying, sinful anger, unresolved wrath, openness to the enemy or temptation, theft, laziness, corrupt communication, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice. What a powerfully unwanted set of actions and behaviors! The rationale for avoiding these behaviors rests in the fact that they grieve the Holy Spirit. To avoid all these evil behaviors, remember what grieves the Holy Spirit and don’t do it! Then Paul also provides encouragement to behave in Godly ways, with honesty, hard work, edifying speech, grace, kindness, tenderhearted treatment of others, forgiveness in response to the forgiveness of Christ being a great example of characteristics to embrace.
With these great lists of what not to do and what to do, Paul is giving Christians everywhere, in Ephesus, throughout all of Asia Minor, and, oh, wherever you live, the motivation to serve God fully and deny the works of the flesh. Be examples of Christ, not the world. Do not allow someone to be your role model and cause you to embark on the sin ship. Be holy and righteous. Be worthy of your calling. Be worthy of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. Do, don’t, be, live, but whatever you do, consider what grieves the Holy Spirit, what breaks the heart of God, what dances on the dead body of Christ, and don’t do these things.