Christian lifestyle, Christian living, Christianity, Ephesians, Ephesians 4:17-32, faith, forgiveness, God, God's calling for our lives, gossip, hope, hypocrisy, hypocrites, hypocritical friends, love, morals, postaday2011, postaweek2011, values
In my devotion this morning, I read these words from Ephesians…
Ephesians 4:17-32 says, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 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. Those who have 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. 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.”
I had a friend in high school who was one of my close Christian friends. As we went off to college, our friendship slowly dissipated. We simply didn’t keep in touch as much as we both had hoped. I believe it wasn’t until my Junior year that I ended up catching up with her online. She seemed to be doing well, but was mixed in with all the wrong kinds of people. She was doing things that I never thought she would do… drugs, having sex, drinking excessively.. the list goes on and on. And while I tried to reach out to her, she dismissed all that I had to say.. simply saying she was no longer interested in being a Christian. It broke my heart, but I did my best to keep in touch with her ensuring she always had someone to turn to. Well, i later found out that she was living the life of hypocrite. While she was involved in all of these horrible things in college, she would go back home acting as if she was the ‘best Christian ever.’ I found this out when a few of us met up for a movie and we were chatting about school. She started talking about how she was involved in all of these Christian activities and was growing stronger in her faith everyday. If my jaw didn’t drop right then and there, it would be a miracle. I was blown away. She was living a double life and was faking the whole thing right in front of me.
As I sit here and think about today’s verse and am reminded of that situation years ago, I realize how so many of us are living the life of a hypocrite. We may not be living such opposing lifestyles like my friend was, but we are still nonetheless living lives filled with hypocrisy. Think about it. God lays out the way He wants us to live in Ephesians and so often, we go against what we know to be true. I’ve taught children at my church the importance of serving others and loving everyone. But yet, I tend to fall short all too often. And some of the time.. probably most of the time.. I even know it’s wrong as I’m doing it. Girls love to gossip, especially some of the girls I work with. I do my best to stay out of it and hold my tongue, but every once in a while I catch myself letting my faith slide and engaging in the same activity. I know it’s wrong.. it even says it in verse 25 and 29 above, but I do it anyway. And each time we let our faith and morals slide, like I do when I gossip or speak badly about others, the devil makes a little more progress in our hearts. Thankfully, God loves us and continues to forgive us each time these little slips happen and He restores our heart again and again.
This section in Ephesians is such a great reminder on Christian living! All too often, we set on our minds on the things of the world. We focus too much of our time on unworthy things. Instead of spending quite time with our Lord in the morning, we sleep in or go to the gym. Instead of getting involved in our community, serving those in need, we waste our hours a day ‘stalking’ people on Facebook or watching reality tv. We live life according to the way society tells us to, instead of the way God insist we live. We worry too much about our looks, our material possessions and how much money we make that we lose sight of the truly important things in life. We end up putting value in all the wrong things. We talk badly about others just to build ourselves up. We ignore the unwholesome talk and gossip that floats around the workplace or even amongst friends. We may say we’re Christians, but it’s about time we start walking the talk and living the Christian lifestyle God has called us to.