We're going to take a big chunk of Ephesians today and chew it right up! Paul is going to keep going on with what we should be getting rid of as followers of Christ. It's a pretty huge list and if we're not careful, we can make it into a list of To-Do's and find ourselves chained to the ugly monster called Legalism. That dude will put you right back into bondage and call it "following Christ."
I've met this monster and once I found that Jesus operates out grace, what Paul is about to list off didn't seem hard. I respond to Christ and these things come a bit more naturally because I've let His nature take over mine.
Grab your Bible and read Ephesians 4:25-5:20 when you have a chance. For now, I'll give you The List as best I can. I want you to see what Paul is getting at. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Ephesians were having trouble letting go of the old self and still maybe living it up!
Put off falsehood
Don't go to bed angry
Don't give the devil a foothold
Don't steal anymore, but work
Do something useful with your hands so you can share
Don't let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth
Don't grieve the Holy Spirit with all this
Get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice
No sexual immorality
No obscenity, foolish talk
Don't be partners with people who deceive with foolish words
Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness
Don't get drunk on wine
WHEW! That is a HUGE list of Don'ts! I'm certain I can go through that list (like yesterday) and give you examples of where I've missed the mark. I'm not sure what brawling is, but there could be a chance I've done it! :)
The point is is that Paul wants followers of Jesus to strive to be like Jesus! In 5:1 He sums it up by saying "Be imitators of God and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us..."
Aaaaand then he goes into another list of don'ts. Still, it comes down to what you and the Lord are dealing with. Above all these don'ts, there is One DO...
Love like Christ loved. I believe in that and through that, much of those don'ts tend to find their way out of our lives.
We are children of the light (5:8) and we are to find out what pleases the Lord (vs. 10). And we understand the Lord's will by the filling of the Spirit (vs. 17, 18).
I like the Do's of this text much better. Do love. Do find what pleases God. Do understand His will. Do be filled with the Spirit, and finally,
Speak to one another spiritually
Sing to the Lord!
and DO give thanks always.
I think Paul's call to the Do's is what I'll strive after rather than focus on all the Don'ts! The more I focus on all I shouldn't do tends to be the line I look at. Rather, I'll focus on the things of God and there is where the real fun happens!
What about you!?