Paul is moving from the excitement of the “pep rally” to the practical walking out of the relationship with the awesome God we met there. It’s time for the rubber to meet the road in our Christian walk.
When I was reading our passage I was thinking about darkness and light. I was thinking about how when light comes into an area the darkness leaves. Even with a small light the darkness is driven back. The darkness cannot overcome the light but if the light is extinguished or hidden the darkness returns.
Paul is sharing some practical ways that his readers can keep the darkness of sin from their lives. He focuses on a few general areas; the body, the heart and the mouth.
Sexual sins are sins against one’s own body as well as against the Lord. Using your body in ways that God tells us not to not only damages our relationship with Him but also your own relationship with yourself. You can’t escape your own body and it has a way of reminding you of the things you have done to it. Sexual sins seem to “haunt” you longer than any other kind of sin. I know this personally. It is one of the hardest sins to accept God’s forgiveness for and it creeps back in when you are not on guard.
The next category Paul addresses is the heart. He doesn’t explicitly name the heart but jealousy (covetousness) and idolatry are both heart conditions. “The heart wants what the heart wants.” That is true when the heart is not brought in line with the spirit through the Spirit. And, yes, it takes the Spirit to get hold of the heart. When your heart is consumed with chasing after anything else except God, you have a problem. We are supposed to work and think about material things in this life but NOT to chase after them to the point of “I’ve got to have it or I’ll die!” At that point you have placed whatever it is in the place of God and He doesn’t share His throne.
The third area is the mouth. First of all in this area we are told that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). So this relates back to the heart category. Whatever you fill your heart up with will come pouring out your mouth. If you spend your days listening to crude jokes and swear words you will find yourself repeating them back. What you take in comes back out, just like it does with children. You may not be able to separate yourself from this kind of atmosphere because of your job but you have the power to change that same atmosphere with your words. You would be amazed how the language changes when you start giving thanks or praising God. You have the power to change others’ hearts through your words.
God wants us to be His light in this world. When we make a practice of ignoring His ways and walking is sin He won’t be part of it. The one who calls themselves Christians and live a life full of sin are not really His children. Yes, Christians DO make mistakes and sin. But the true child of God will want to get out of that sin. Sometimes it takes a bit of time for the Holy Spirit to complete the work of conviction and bring about repentance and restoration, but those who truly love God will desire that restoration. They won’t find joy in their sins. “The things I want to do I don’t do but the things I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). This distress is real for the child of God. Our sins hurt us because they hurt Him. I can’t be His light when I’m wallowing in the mud.
Father God, I know I mess up more times than I ever want to. I make a mess out of my testimony at times to. I pray that those watching me will notice my repentance as well as my sin. That they will see Your work in me and Your restoration. I want to be Your light.
I want to say thank You again for forgiving me of ALL my sins, even the ones that keep popping back up in my head as “how could you think He could forgive that” kind of sins. Thank You for washing my heart of all the foul words that accumulate there when I’m not praising you. Thank You that I can feast on Your words instead of the trash the world wants to offer me. Help me choose more wisely in the books I read. I enjoy reading but sometimes the words the authors use are NOT in my best interest to imbibe. Help me use discernment and PUT IT DOWN when Your Spirit prompts me to; enjoying the story line or not.