As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of 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. Ephesians 4-6 (NIV)
What is the process of changing bad communication into good communication?
I often tell my counselee’s that the goal of their lives is to live in a manner that brings glory to God. This means, to cause others to speak well of God. That as others witness how they act, speak and conduct themselves they would say, “Wow this person is different, and it is because of God.”
Biblical Counselor Jeff Forrey says, “Truly, it is because of God! It is a result of being “in Christ” that we are enabled to walk worthy. It is fruit, evidence of the changed heart of the Christian.”
In biblical counseling, we use the book of Ephesians extensively. It is a nice, compact and thorough way to help a person understand who they are in Christ from the first 3 chapters, where we learn who we are in Christ to the remaining 3 chapters where we learn how to live the rest of our lives on earth.
Paul tells us what needs to change and how to change. The underlying understanding of Ephesians 4 is that the person understands the first 3 chapters and is a believer. Only a born again believer can be changed at the heart level and “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
This looks like setting a good example of Christ to others. The goal of your life is to live in a manner that brings glory to God. This means, to cause others to speak well of God. This is a result of being “in Christ” they are fruit, evidence of the changed heart of the Christian..
Forrey also says, “You must be concerned about being ‘completely humble.” ‘Humility’ can be defined as a willingness to sacrifice any of my desires that stand in opposition of what God’s desires are for me.
Our communication is often times controlled by self-centeredness that creates problems between us and other people. At the heart level, this means that my desires must change from being me centered to being God centered.
God has enabled the believer to have new and different thoughts, beliefs, and desires that we had before. He has enabled us to live a life worthy of our calling, and He has enabled us to become humble. These are but a few examples of what needs to change in our communication with others.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better
than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the
interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:3-5a (NIV)
“You must be concerned about being ‘gentle’” says Forrey. Gentleness us the opposite of being harsh, rude, or domineering. The gentle Christian will be firm, but never attacking in his approach. Gentleness is another fruit that comes from being united with the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22).
And finally, Jeffrey Forrey says, “You must be concerned about being ‘patient, bearing with one another in love.’” Love is a willingness to do good for others in spite of their shortcomings and sins. This translates into not being curt, caustic, or cynical in speaking with others whose sins or foibles are evident. Loving patience grows in direct proportion to our awareness of how enticing habitual sin is for them.”
You must identify specific ways of communication specifically that you need to change and determine with the help of God that you are going to stop doing that, that you are going to mortify that particular area of life, put it to death…
We are not only speaking about behaviors that are to be put off, because notice that the verse also speaks of putting of “deceitful lusts” these involve both the inner and outer man. Many times, one of the keys to changing is to identify the desires, or lusts that lead to that kind of behavior.
The old man, or the sinful nature will be with us until the day we die. If it is fed it will continue to grow stronger and more corrupt. The flesh is not fed by goodness; it is fed by sinful thoughts and desires that lead to sinful actions. Its desires are actually insatiable. Its appetite is so strong that Scripture warns us against giving in to it.
“Deceitful lusts” that involve both the inner and outer man would be some heart attitudes that need to be changed.
“..to be made new in the attitude of your minds”
You must choose to change the way you think about those habits. This is “be[ing] renewed in the spirit of your mind” You don’t work at putting something to death, until you develop a hatred for that thought, or a hatred for that kind of speech, or attitude
We will never work at mortifying something, or putting it to death, until we develop a hatred for that thought, or a hatred for that kind of speech, or attitude. Some of us don’t change because the sin doesn’t particularly bother us… instead we nurture it, and keep it close…
You must choose to change the way you think about those habits. A part of the change process is beginning to look at those communication habits from God’s perspective.
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