Putting God's Word into Practice…

Ephesians 5:3-20 Walking Worthy and Words Part 2

on December 5, 2012

I love lists!  I make lists to keep track of lists!  I thoroughly enjoy crossing things off my lists.  Then I like assembling a new list at the end of the day with the things I didn’t finish from my various lists to prepare me for my next day.  It’s probably some kind of sickness–CLD–Compulsive List Disorder!   However, lists help me stay focused and organized.  They lend structure to my day.  They solve my memory issues.  They cause me to feel productive.  (If you really want to feel productive, fill your list with tedious things like brushing teeth, showering and eating lunch, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel like a success every day!)  I say all that to say, I love it when there are lists in the Bible.  I relate to lists!

This portion of verses starts with a list of actions that are improper and out-of-place in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ: sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness/idolatry, filthy talk, foolish talk, and crude joking.  That list must be thrown out and replaced with a new list with one word on it: THANKSGIVING!  That’s what should fill the day in the life of a believer and follower of Jesus Christ!  Could you imagine a life like that…”So what are you doing today?”  says Friend 1.  Friend 2 responds, “Just being thankful.”  It would really simplify life!  Unfortunately our natural bend is not towards thanksgiving.  This section of verses is bookended with thanksgiving, so we’ll get back to that in a minute.

Ephesians 5:10 is one of my life verses.  It says, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.”  We don’t do this out of duty or rule-following, but out of love and reverence for the one who sacrificed His very life to rescue us out of the domain of darkness and out of slavery to sin. So here is a list of things that please the Lord:

  • Walking in wisdom (15)
  • Making the best use of time (16)
  • Being filled with the Holy Spirit (18)
  • Speaking to each other with words that are relationally harmonic, beautiful, truthful and life-giving (19a)
  • Having a song of worship in our hearts for God (19b)
  • Being thankful ALWAYS and in EVERYTHING to God (20)

One thing I noticed in reading and meditating on Ephesians 4:17-5:20 is that the Holy Spirit is mentioned in regard to how we live and speak in both chapters.  Only when we are filled with the Holy Spirit are we able to please the Lord with our words and deeds.  He makes wisdom, joy, thanksgiving, and discernment possible and helps us understand the will of the Lord. When we are foolish; we choose our own path, speak however we feel inclined, and live for our own self-interests.  This grieves the Holy Spirit.  This extinguishes true joy and gratitude.  There is no middle ground!  Either we are grieving or yielding to God’s Spirit in us.

Chapter 4 started out by petitioning those called by Christ to walk in a manner worthy of their calling–to walk in love, wisdom and thanksgiving.  Are we moving forward one step at a time in these areas?  Are we actively pursuing love, wisdom and a thankful heart?


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