4,11 "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. … Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."
Ephesians 5:4,11 (ESV)
When we come up against adversity, we have three options:
GIVE IN: Play not to lose. Let passivity win. Tolerate. Accommodate. Live compromised. Ignore reality.
GIVE UP: Play to lose. Let the other side win. Surrender. Stop resisting. Yield. Justify the concession. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
FIGHT: Play to win. Attack back. Answer aggressiveness with aggressiveness. Stand your ground.
God wants us buttoned up for spiritual battle, so He brings to light some hard-hitting topics in Ephesians 5 that we all face (sex, sensuality, lust, impurity, greed, gender and marriage, alcohol/drugs, freedom of speech, freedom of expression).
These are volatile subjects in today's world. Our culture is defining and redefining so much on these fronts.
Teaching that it's best to personally fight instead of giving in or giving up, Scripture offers two effective ways to “BUTton up.” Let's take a look.
“BUT INSTEAD,” THANKSGIVING. Expressing true thanks actually can get us out of attitude ruts, bad habits and deep moral holes. It stirs up powerful stuff in us that offsets cynicism, despair and negativity. It lifts the soul and matures the person.
Thanksgiving satisfies, keeping us from wanting more than we should and from craving what we shouldn't.
“BUT INSTEAD,” EXPOSURE. Hold stuff up to the Light. It's hard to see things well in the dark. Wisdom and truth can get hidden there.
When we expose ourselves and our issues to the light of God's Word, the view gets way better. Jesus gets seen. God's heart for mankind gets showcased. Eternal perspective becomes clearer. We see what really needs to be done.
When we flood ourselves with thanksgiving and light, things settle inside, real fight rises and life-wins come. It's a supernatural law. BUTton that up!
Consider all the principles that are mentioned in Ephesians 4 and 5. Which ones are you giving in or giving up, and in which ones are you fighting hard to stand your ground?
Are you living a life of expressed thanksgiving?
Are you faithfully exposing your life and your issues to the light of God's Word (Psalm 19:8) and to the Light of the world, Jesus (John 8:12)?
A prayer to consider: LORD, thanks for giving us two big “but instead” alternatives. They sure help me fight hard and play life better. Grant me the cultural, moral wins I long for. Help my friends and brothers to get them too … through Christ. Amen.