Although I do not condone following a list of rules, or conforming to the image of the “Stepford Christian,” I do think that our heart condition will exhibit itself in our behavior. If we are all walking together being conformed to the image of Christ, then we will resemble one another as we resemble Jesus. There is the harvest of the Spirit, and the harvest of the flesh. I also believe that we must strive to choose which fruit will be produced.
These verses compare two types of behavior, how we as Christ Followers and imitators of God should conduct ourselves and how we should not. Our conduct has an effect on us and others.
Verses 3-4 read,
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
Dirty jokes and talk put sexually immoral thoughts in people’s minds, those thoughts if held unchecked lead to lust, and even acting on that lust. We’re better than that. We are not a bunch of sex-obsessed construction workers or hormone-ridden adolescents, we are saints, God’s children and friends, followers of Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Our behavior and words reflect our hearts. If we have Jesus in our hearts, if we have the Spirit within us, shouldn’t our behavior and words reflect Him?
Our entire lives should indicate that we are children of God. What we do in front of the church should be the same as what we do in the midst of friends and behind closed doors in secret. Verses 11-12 read,
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”
If you have those shameful secrets there is one sure way to eliminate them. Confess them and give them to Jesus. Appropriately sharing them with trusted Brothers or Sisters in Christ exposes them to the light. When you no longer have to hide your shame, you can repent. You will have the Spirit helping you and encouraging you and you will have your fellow believers encouraging you as well. There is no condemnation in Christ. Baring the secrets that keep you chained to sin lets the Light of Christ shine down and show you those chains can’t hold you. You applied them after Christ freed you. Sin has no power over you when the Light of Christ shines through you. Verses 13-14 read,
“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Exposing your sin brings you closer to Jesus, glorifies Him, and because of that can actually bring others to Christ.
As saints, our behavior should be based on wisdom, love and truth, not on gratifying our whims and flesh. We are the children of God. Our manner reflects Him. Glorifying God means rather than indulge our flesh we seek to please God and fulfil His desires and will. Verses 15-16 read,
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
What is the will of the God? He wants us to love one another. He wants everyone to come to a relationship with Him. He wants you to know Him deeply. When we act in accordance with His will, our demeanor will be like Him. Verses 18-21 put it like this,
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
This is not a list of rules to follow. 1. Address one another in psalms. Check! 2. Make melody to the Lord. Check! 3. Give thanks always. Check! It is the consequence of being filled with the Holy Spirit of being in love with Him and wanting what He wants. When we revere Christ, we not only love one another we submit to one another. We would rather satisfy one another’s wishes over our own. What is it to revere? It is show devoted deferential honor, to regard as worthy, to admire, respect and worship.
When we are filled with the Spirit rather than meet up, speak crudely, and encourage one another to sin. We meet up, greet each other in love, walk beside one another in love, and encourage one another to a deeper walk with Christ.