Some time ago a friend was trying to show me something in the sky. They seemed to be pointing in one direction and facing in a different direction – and I couldn’t figure out what they were pointing at. I finally said, “I can’t tell the direction you are facing!”
This lead to an interesting thought for me — Would a person who is looking for something more in life remain “wandering in the wilderness” when trying to follow my example? The thought was convicting. I know that money, fame, and power do not satisfy. In fact, quarterback Tom Brady even said after winning his third Super Bowl, “This is what I have been working for all these years…there has to be something more than this!” The reporter for 60 minutes then asked what it was he was looking for and Mr. Brady replied, “I wish I knew.”
I know the answer to Mr. Brady’s questions. If you are a believer, you know the answer too. The answer is Jesus Christ…he needs a relationship with Jesus!! However, unless Tom Brady reads this blog or comes to my church, my making that statement here makes little difference for Tom Brady. But then I got to thinking a little further down this path — it’s not just Tom Brady, or other rich and famous people, that are my concern. What about my neighbors? What about the guy at the gym? What about the complete stranger that starts a conversation at Walmart? How clear am I about my relationship with Jesus in my “words and deeds”…just in my daily living? As I think about, I have to honestly say I’m not as clear about my relationship with Jesus to others as I believe I ought to…no, as I know I must be!
What does clarity to others about my relationship with Jesus look like? In studying God’s Word, Ephesians 5:1-4 revealed 3 choices we must all make as followers of Jesus Christ.
- Choose to Follow The Leader
“Be ye therefore followers of God.” This phrase can be understood as the call for the believer to imitate God. The “therefore” statement refers back to Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Follow your leader believer and forgive others as you walk in love (5:2)! “Walk in love” just as Christ made a WILLING OFFERING (“hath given Himself”), an EXTREME OFFERING (“sacrifice”…earlier in 1:7 – “redemption through His blood”), and a POINTED OFFERING (“sacrifice to God”). How clear is the reflection of Jesus Christ in our walk? Is your “walk of love” defined as God defines such a walk in Ephesians 5:2?
- Choose to Face the Lane
“let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints”
There is a list of gross sinful acts in this passage that the world does not view as gross or sinful — in fact, they are viewed as common and “no big deal.” However, the Word of God states in Ephesians 5:3 that these sinful acts are not even to be named among you — because you belong to God. The practice of such sins is an obvious NO! However, here it also talks of how this ought not even be part of the believers ordinary conversation. Our conversation ought to rather be that which is true, pure, just, lovely, of good report, of virtue, and of praise! (Phil. 4:8) We must guard our thoughts!!
Filthy lusts must be rooted out, detested, and destroyed! The pagan culture of a city like Ephesus would have had all sorts of depravity as well; however, these ought not to be the actions of the church! These things are so far from being profitable that they actually pollute and poison a person. Ephesians 5:3 lists the following:
• FORNICATION– physical (sexual) immorality (Greek)
• ALL UNCLEANNESS – all impurity – physical or moral (Greek)
• COVETOUSNESS – the desire of having more
“The combination of covetousness with sins of the flesh, occurring several times in the apostle’s writings (1 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5), is rather interesting…sensuality was inseparable from greed, unnatural craving for more, and dissatisfaction with what was enough.” (Pulpit Commentary) These sins of immorality declare one who rejects God’s provision is enough. Believer, God’s provision of intimacy within a marriage between a husband and wife is enough! When we seek more than what God has revealed as enough — we seek our own way. Proverbs 14:12 warns us all of such danger, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
The list continues in verse 4 with further description of how God views these things:
• FILTHINESS – implying that such things are disgraceful, ugly, revolting
• FOOLISH TALKING & JESTING– means crude talking (in the Greek); a light, bantering, jesting kind of talk that is seasoned with obscene insinuations…sensual innuendos. To be clear, this does not refer to all humor. In fact, the Bible says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” AND “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” This is clearly pointing to the specific issue of sensual innuendos when attempting to be funny. Be careful believer…modern day entertainment overflows with such “humor” and it ought not be named once among us!
A father and son were going around town doing errands when they walked into the grocery store. As they approached the checkout lane with their items to purchase, the father placed his son in front of him and then put his hand over his son’s eyes. They had a little fun as they walked up to the checkout. However, the real goal was the father didn’t want his son to see the immorality portrayed on the magazine covers. In the parking lot the father noticed a man driving by slowly staring at his son – the father took his son’s hand and took him directly to the car and placed him safely inside. When they got home an angry neighbor came over to vent about something – so the father sent his son inside (out of hearing distance). The father wanted to protect his son from evil, especially at his young age!
Even small steps on this immoral lane will take you places you never wanted to go…the small steps ARE a BIG DEAL!! Guard your heart against these thoughts and actions like you would guard your loved ones from evil!
Choose to Fix Your Longings
Verse 4 ends with this phrase, “which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”
Instead of nurturing thoughts of immorality…that will move to actions of immorality – nurture thoughts of thankfulness to God for all His goodness! Fix your longings on God almighty! Fix your longings on His Omni-presence (Proverbs 15:3)…His Omniscience (Psalm 147:5)…His Omnipotence (Luke 1:37)…His Immutability (James 1:17)…don’t loose sight of the one true God!
We all make choices every moment of every day. The desire end is NOT to simply stop choosing wrong thoughts and actions. In fact – it is even more so that we start habitually choosing thoughts and actions OF THANKFULNESS to God. What choices have you been making in your thoughts and actions over the last year…over the last week?
Many believers today are now reasoning in their minds that immorality is not all that bad. After all, they can’t afford an apartment any other way, or they love the person, or they may even plan to marry the person some day. So, it’s okay — right? Many believers will say they follow Jesus Christ, and yet, physical intimacy outside of marriage and ingratitude are also regular parts of their lives. Ephesians 5 says gives God’s wisdom on these subjects. How clear to others is your relationship with Jesus?