Are We Being Careful?

Monday, November 04, 2013, 8:20 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Myopic” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 4:25-5:20 (NIV).

When we come to true faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, it means that we put off our old lives of living for self and sin, which were being corrupted by their deceitful desires, we are made new in the attitude of our minds, and we put on our new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness – all because of God’s grace in providing the blood sacrifice for our sins through Christ, and because of the working of the Spirit of God in our lives in transforming us into new creatures in Christ Jesus, as we cooperate fully with that work, by faith, in submission and surrender to Christ (See Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6; 1 John; Gal. 2:20; book of James, et al).

No Foothold

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

Therefore, because Jesus Christ died on the cross, taking upon himself the sins of the entire world so that we could go free from slavery to sin, free from eternal punishment in hell, and free to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness – all in the power and working of the Spirit within us – and because he rose again, conquering death, hell, Satan and sin, we should live like we say we believe. In other words, salvation is not positional only, i.e. it is not just our get-out-of-jail free card or our free ticket to heaven. Salvation is freedom from slavery to sin day-to-day, and it is freedom to daily walk in Christ’s righteousness (see Gal. 5:16; Eph. 5:2; Col. 3:7; 1 Jn. 1:6-7; 2 Jn. 1:6; 3 Jn. 1:4; Rev. 3:4). Amen!

The Christian life must be lived out by faith and in the power of the Spirit within us day by day. Daily we must die to sin and self, resist Satan, flee temptation and draw near to God in full assurance of faith. Daily we must put on the armor of God with which to fight off the devil’s schemes which come against us. Jesus Christ won this battle for us, so daily we surrender to him, we yield control of our lives over to him, and we allow his Spirit to work his will in our hearts and lives, submitting to the cross. We willingly choose to cease telling lies, and instead we tell the truth. This is the spirit of transformation which the Spirit of God works in our hearts as we yield control of our lives to God daily. We can’t just stop doing bad things in our own strength and willpower, because eventually we will return to our vomit. The old was replaced with the new at the cross and at our conversion, so daily we must allow this life of transformation to work its will in our lives by putting off what once enslaved us, and by putting on the things of God, allowing the Spirit to do his work.

Be Beneficial

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

When we think of unwholesome talk, what comes to mind? I think we naturally think of people cursing or telling off-color jokes or being downright nasty to each other on purpose, with no thought to how our words might hurt another. Yet, “wholesome” merely means health-giving, beneficial, honest, sensible, and the like. So, “unwholesome” would thus be anything that is not beneficial, that is not truthful, and/or that is not health-giving. So, we should cease with talk that is untruthful and/or which provides nothing of benefit to those who listen or that is senseless, and we should instead talk about things which will help others to mature in their walks with the Lord and to live godly and holy lives, or that will add some benefit to their lives in some way according to their true needs (not their selfish desires). So, how do we do in this? How much of what we talk about is either not honest (perhaps false flattery), has no benefit whatsoever to our listeners, and does not touch on their true needs at all? I believe we should all examine what comes out of our mouths and see how much of what we say is just pure junk, and we should commit our mouths to speaking what benefits others instead.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

No Hint

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

To hint something can mean to suggest something indirectly (Encarta). This can be done purposefully or it can be done without any forethought whatsoever. If you have ever watched secular movies, which I watched plenty in my lifetime, but no more, oftentimes the actors in the plays do not do something outright where you can see it, but they just hint to it being done, which can be just as seductive, if not more. And, oftentimes Christians will excuse these scenes because, after all, you really didn’t see anything. Yet, that is the lie. What we may not have seen with our physical eyes, we could still see and feel with our imaginations and emotions, and even the hint of it can still have the same effect on us.

Well, that is the danger here. Sometimes we can excuse away certain behaviors because we feel as though we didn’t actually do the bad thing, like a movie that has just a few bad scenes in it, and so we allow the whole in our minds and hearts. Yet, we know in our hearts that we are playing with fire, or that we are not as innocent as we would like people to believe. A hint can also be a very small amount of something, so small that it is barely noticed, yet even the smallest amount of immorality is still immorality. Don’t be fooled!

As Light

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

The problem here, as I see it, is that what is being taught and modeled to us in most modern church congregations in America is a diluted gospel, i.e. one which does not teach death to our old lives of sin and new birth to new lives in Christ, walking in his righteousness. So many have reduced our salvation to just a choice between eternity in hell or in heaven, and to a decision to merely choose heaven over hell, if hell is even mentioned at all, which it may not be. “Faith” is not even explained, in most cases, and so one is left feeling that a mere intellectual belief or emotional decision to choose Jesus and heaven guarantees eternity in heaven for them, even absent of a true heart transformation from darkness to light. We are taught that repentance and obedience are not required and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, and so many believe they are saved when a true darkness (life of sin/Satan) to light (salvation/God) transformation never happened.

So, first of all, we need to have our eyes opened to the true gospel of salvation, and we need to be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so we can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are being sanctified and made holy in Christ Jesus (See Ac. 26:16-18). And, then we need to daily walk (in lifestyle) in that light (truth, goodness and righteousness), and we need to find out what pleases the Lord and do it – all in the power and working of the Spirit of God within us as we yield to the working of the Spirit by faith, and not in our own flesh. We should have NOTHING TO DO with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather we should EXPOSE THEM. This means we need to do a careful, prayerful and thoughtful examination of every aspect of our lives, and we need to ask the Holy Spirit of God to reveal to us those areas in our lives where we are participating in even the smallest amount of the fruitless deeds of darkness. Then, we need to obey the Spirit, do what he tells us to do, and we need to expose those fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are so that our brothers and sisters in Christ are not led astray.

Be Filled

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the original language, this really says “Be ye being filled with the Spirit.” In other words, daily as we put off these fruitless deeds of darkness, and we yield control of our lives over to the Spirit of God within us, and we find out what pleases the Lord, and we do it, all in the power and working of the Spirit within us, we are daily being filled with the Spirit of God. Amen! We should be ever aware that the days are evil, and thus we should be so careful (not careless) in the way we live our lives. Our lives should not be out of control, but should be under the direction of the Holy Spirit of God. And, instead of having come out of our mouths what is senseless, useless and which serves no benefit, we should be sharing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with one another, to encourage and strengthen one another in our faith and in our walks of faith with Jesus Christ day by day. Amen!

Myopic / An Original Work / August 19, 2013

Based off 2 Peter 1:3-11

Jesus has given ev’rything
Needed for life and godliness.
His great and precious promises
Free us from our sin and distress.

Add to your faith His goodness;
Knowledge; patience; godliness;
Brotherly love and mutu’l affection;
Kindness and unselfishness.

If you possess these qualities,
Growing in your maturity,
They will keep you from vanity.
You will bear fruit effectually.

Nonetheless, if you lack them;
Forget you’ve been cleansed from sin,
Nearsighted are you; you can’t see Jesus.
You have closed your heart to Him.

Therefore, beloved, confirm, then,
Your calling and your election.
Do this by showing diligence:
Obey your Lord; be repentant.

Practice all these qualities
God provided on a tree.
He died for our sins so we’d be given
Life with Him eternally.