I Paul, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to lead a life worthy of the calling you’ve been given.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together in peace.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each of us have talents been given, as Christ considers best. That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led forth a crowd of captives and gave gifts to all his people.”
Notice that it says “he ascended.” This implies that Christ also descended to the lower, earthly regions. And he who descended is the very same person who ascended much higher than the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.
It is Christ himself who has given us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service. This is so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and our knowledge of the Son of God. Then will we be mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
No longer, then, will we be like immature children, tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We won’t be caught out when people try to deceive us with cunning lies, but instead, telling the truth with love in our hearts, we will a mature body of Christ, who is its head. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love.
With the Lord’s authority I say this: live no longer as the Gentiles do, for their thoughts are all confused. Their minds are full of darkness. They wander away from the life of God because their hearts are hardened. Having lost all sensitivity, they live only for pleasure. They indulge in every kind of impurity and are also full of greed.
But that isn’t the way of life that you learned when you heard about Christ. Since you were taught the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, and be renewed in your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God in the purity of all actions and behaviour.
Don’t tell lies. Speak truthfully to your neighbours, for we are all members of one body. And don’t sin by letting anger get control of you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for this gives a foothold to the devil.
Anyone who has been stealing must stop doing it. Instead, he must do something useful with his hands. Then he will be able to share with those who are in need.
Don’t let anything unwholesome come out of your mouth, but only such words as will help to build up others and are suited to their needs. Let everything you say be something that encourages anyone who overhears them.
Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom you were marked for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander, as well as every type of malice. Instead, be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.