Ephesians  ◦   Chapter 4

1 As one in prison for preaching the message of Jesus, I urge you to live a life that reveals the incredible benefits of God's way of living.2 Think first of others and be gentle; be loving, patiently working with each other, helping each other to grow and mature.3 Do all in your power to stay united with the Spirit in promoting the principles of truth and peace.4 There is only one way of life and health, one body, and one Spirit of truth–just as you were called to the one hope of recovery and restoration when you were called; 5 there is one Lord, one principle of life (the principle of love), one immersion for the mind,6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.

7 But Christ gives each one of us just what we need in each circumstance for our good and our development.8 This is why it is said: "When he ascended to heaven, he took with him those who were once captive in the grave, and gave gifts to humanity."

9 The phrase "he ascended" is meaningful only because he had first descended from heaven to this lowly earth.10 And he who descended to earth is the very One who ascended higher than all the heavens in order to fill the entire universe.11 It was he who selected some as his ambassadors, some to be spokespersons, some to be preachers of the healing message, some to care for and minister to his children, and some to educate and instruct–12 all in order to heal God's people, enabling them to help each other — so that the body of believers may grow in number and strength13 until we all reach true unity of heart, methods, motives and principles in harmony with the knowledge of God as revealed in Jesus, and become mature, developing Christlike character.

14 Then we will no longer be children — unable to think for ourselves and easily confused, tossed back and forth by every new and emotional teaching brought by the scheming trickery of charismatic speakers.15 Instead, we will grow up and be like Christ — presenting the truth in love, and leaving others free to come to their own conclusions based on the evidence.16The entire body of believers is joined together with Christ; each member draws their strength from him and then ministers in love to the needs of the rest of the body as each part does its assigned task.

17 So I tell you this plainly, and I insist on it in the Lord: If you are to grow and mature, you must think for yourselves and not live like the Gentiles, who believe all kinds of things that don't make sense.18 Their minds are darkened and their thinking is confused because they have rejected the truth of God and his methods, and have preferred lies that harden their hearts and separate them from God.19 They have lost all compassion, morality and tenderness, and have immersed themselves in sensuality (practicing every kind of impurity) and are constantly lusting for more.

20 You, however, did not come to know Christ by practicing such impure behavior.21 Instead, you heard of him and studied the truth of God's methods and character as revealed by Jesus.22 You were taught that the former ways of life–the survival-of-the-fittest ways, the selfish me-first ways–only lead to self-destruction and death, and that health and life consist of putting off such motives and desires.23 You were taught the importance of being recreated in heart and mind and displacing the principles of selfishness with those of love,24 and experiencing a complete transformation of character such that you are an entirely new being recreated in heart-attitude to be like God–truly righteous and holy.

25 Therefore each of you must choose to stop being deceitful in every way, and instead be truthful and honest in all your conduct, for we are members of one body, and such behavior injures both you and the body.26 "In your anger do not sin"–do not let your anger or any strong emotion take control of your minds and determine your choices; don't retain anger in your hearts.27 The devil tempts us through our emotions, so don't give him any opportunity to confuse you or lead you astray.28 The person who has been stealing has been practicing the methods of selfishness, and if they desire to get well, they must have selfishness replaced by love. When selfishness is replaced with love, they will stop stealing, and instead get a job in order to be able to give to others in need.

29 Don't speak unwholesome words, for your words react on the mind, and unwholesome words damage and destroy. Instead, speak what is helpful and uplifting, encouraging others and benefiting those who listen.30 And do not close your minds to seeking more truth and thus grieve the Spirit of truth who set your minds free from Satan's lies and settled you into the truth of God's character and methods for the day of our deliverance.31 Purge your hearts from all bitterness, rage and anger, desire for vengeance, conflict and rumor-mongering, along with every other form of malice and ill will.32 Be kind, gentle, compassionate and forgiving with each other as God is forgiving to you; remember that all humanity suffers with the same infection of selfishness, and God provides the same Remedy for all.