Time for a service
Some people in Ephesus were still going in completely the wrong direction. They confessed in words, but it had not yet become visible in their conduct. The things that they did told a different story, the story of what their lives were like before Jesus. I suspect that they had assumed that they could simply continue living exactly as they had lived before.
Paul is certainly not happy with this and stops them in their tracks with his words: 17And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. 18They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. 19They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
Without the Lord in your life there is nothing good to say about it. Your actions tell the story of a barren soul, a mind that is always going off on the wrong track, giving birth to the wrong thoughts. And the end result? Actions that also do not look nice. You can talk and try and convince people, but they will remain hard-headed. The line between right and wrong has become a dotted line.
But fortunately we’re not part of that group.
I realise I cannot simply shift these verses towards the unbelievers and evildoers. Warning signs are flickering for us believers as well.
Sign one: How am I conducting myself? What message do others see in my conduct? Even if I do not speak even one word, will people see from the way that I live that I am a child of God? Maybe it is a good idea to ask your family, colleagues and friends to be a sounding board and to tell you what story they are reading in your conduct.
Sign two: What is happening in your thoughts? What fills your mind? Remember that behaviour follows on our thoughts. If we fill our minds with empty thoughts, our conduct will not be able to fill and change others. We need wise thoughts. Wisdom to know with what we need to fill our thoughts. From wisdom follows conduct.
Sign three: How easy is it for you to listen to wisdom and to make it part of your thoughts? Or do you keep holding on to the way you learnt to do things? So often you meet people who are so stuck in their old way of understanding that they will never think of listening to others. And the result: 18… they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.
Sign four: We have to be very careful of this one. The line between right and wrong becomes faint. We’ve become so used to doing things in the grey areas of life that it starts feeling like the right way. And I’m not going to list a heap of sins here – we all know the things we do that are not right.
I’m reminded of a car that has to be serviced regularly, has to have an oil change, and all the moving parts that have to be lubricated. It is also necessary that we regularly service our faith to make sure that all the parts are in working condition. We shouldn’t drift off to sleep, because when we wake up, we may well be off the road …
What story does your way of life tell?
With what do you fill your thoughts?
How thick is the line between your right and wrong?
Father, I know I have to look more inwards. I know the picture is not always very nice. Please remind me when I act as if I don’t know you. Amen