FOLLOW GOD’S EXAMPLE
“Follow God’s example, therefore as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 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. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
J B Phillips paraphrases Ephesians 5:4 In this way: “The keynotes of your conversation should not be coarseness or silliness or flippancy, which are quite out of place; but a sense of all that we owe to God.”
You may have worked making an article of clothing and used a pattern. Or, if you are a wood worker you have used a plan to create your project. When I was a boy growing up I enjoyed building model cars or other vehicles. Each of those included a set of plans or instructions. (At times, I wondered if they left something out, but usually found that I had read the instruction wrong). To put most any meal together one must use a recipe whether the ingredients come from a box or you are baking or cooking “from scratch.” Someone once asked, “Where do you buy scratch?’
To do any of those things correctly, to make the dress fit; to be sure your building won’t self-destruct; to be sure the model stays intact and you don’t have left over pieces; you have to follow some type of plan. Now, granted, some people are talented enough to be able to sew or build, or bake, do any task without detailed instructions. But most of us are not.
Think what the cake would be like if you put ground pepper in it instead of flour. Your guests would probably turn down an invite for cake at your house next time. Or what good would a bike be if the handlebars were attached to the rear fender? Not much fun to ride! You are sewing a dress and had one short sleeve and one long one. That might be a little awkward to wear.
Sometimes, following directions, recipes and patterns may be a hassle. But the outcome of the project is much better if you do.
So, let’s look at the Creator of the earth. He knows exactly how things will work out. He knows they will work out perfectly if we will follow His instructions.
And, we can know assuredly that when it comes to living our lives, we have a pattern, too. Jesus is our pattern. He is God’s Son. He came to show us what God is like. He is the ultimate example for us.
God’s plan for our lives has existed since the beginning of time. When God tells us, in his Word, to be self-controlled, he is not spouting out a new rule for just that occasion. He is telling us, “Be like me,” because he is self-controlled. When God says, “This is what I will do” (Isaiah 42:16, NIV), He means what He says. He does what He says. He never lies. He never gets promises anything He will not deliver.
Some people seem to be controlled by their temper; yet God never loses control of his temper. Sometimes our tongues seem to be out of control and get us into trouble. But, God never loses control of His temper or His tongue. Sometimes people are led astray by their passions. But God is never controlled by anything except His own perfect, holy nature and will.
And because God is self-controlled, he wants us to be self-controlled and to follow the example he sets for us.
Think on this: Our lives are full of activities, projects, and situations which require following a pattern or plan. They require self-control. Does my self-control reflect God’s control, or is my lack of self-control reflected in my behavior, contrary to what God wants for me?
We might pray: “God, thank you for providing an example of how I should live my life. Help me to closely follow your plan for me.”
Gary’s Wednesday Word
19 January 2021