3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:3-4 NIV)
If speed was the goal of finishing a book of the Bible then I would be a miserable failure. It seems like I have spent weeks meditating on the lessons I am learning from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Thankfully, intimacy with the Father, and not speed, is the goal.
In Ephesians 5:3-4, I am struck by what Paul says doesn’t “fit” me, now that I am a follower of Jesus. Paul lists them:
* Sexual immorality
* Impurity of any kind
* Foolish talking
* Coarse joking
Like trying to fit into a pair of jeans I wore when I was in Junior High, these 6 characteristics just don’t fit me any longer now that I am a follower of Jesus. None of these “fit” my frame now that I am a follower of Jesus. What is really ironic is that they use to fit me to a “T.” They were part of my every day life in one way or another. (I was raised in locker rooms, not a monastery.) Now that I am follower of Jesus, now that I’ve been “transformed by the renewing of my mind” (Romans 12:2), you would think that these “old clothes” would have been cleared out of my closet long ago. There has been a lot of cleaning and clearing-out going on in the years that I’ve known the Lord, but there is much more left to be done.
I do know this: When the old way of living creeps up into the present–I know it doesn’t fit. Nobody has to tell me. The Lord convicts me. It’s kind of like the 40 year old man who has gained 50 lbs since he graduated from high school, but he still insists on wearing his old basketball jersey when he plays on his church’s basketball team. Do you really think he doesn’t know how tight that jersey is? Don’t kid yourself…he knows. And so do I, and so do you. When we slip back into doing life like we did before we met Jesus we know that it doesn’t fit. That lifestyle just doesn’t fit us any longer and God won’t allow us to be comfortable in it. He has a better fit for us.
Paul says that even though those things that use to be part of my life don’t fit me as a follower of Jesus, there is a new suit of clothes that does fit me, and every other believer, perfectly. Sharper than Gucci. Better fitting than a handmade shirt by an Italian designer. What is it that fits me and you perfectly? Thanksgiving. I am to “wear” thanksgiving, gratitude, and wear it well so that my life might be a sign of the Savior’s glorious love and mercy.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You would help me clean out my closets of those things that don’t fit me as Your child. Suit me up in thanksgiving as I go into this day so that others might see You in me.