Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christians Under the Influence (of Holy Scripture)

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." Ephesians 5:15-21

The Apostle teaches here that we ought to make the most of our lives (“redeeming the time”) by (1) “understanding what the will of the Lord is,” and (2) being “filled with the Spirit”. In short, we should understand God’s will and live under the influence of God’s will. God’s will is revealed in the Bible. So we’ve got to understand God’s word and live under the influence of God’s word. It should be the controlling factor in our lives.

This control is incomplete in all of us. We know and obey God’s word in some things, but not all things. We allow other factors to control how we live and act. By "controlling factor" I mean an idea that shapes behavior. This idea may be true or false, accurate or inaccurate, but it produces real behavior nonetheless. For example, if you hear on the weather report that the high for the day will be 19 degrees (as is the case here today), you will wear a sweater and corduroys or other warm clothing. The weather is then the controlling factor in your wardrobe choice. Fear, achievement, and selfishness are common controlling factors for many people .(There are many, many more.) Fear of rejection may cause someone to sin in order to gain acceptance from others. The need to achieve – to be the best – may cause someone to cheat or neglect other responsibilities to get ahead. Selfishness may cause someone to ignore the needs of others in order to please his/herself, or produce anger when he/she doesn’t get his/her way.

Furthermore, the Apostle tells us, a life controlled by the Spirit-inspired word of God produces several good results: (1) a heart of worship, v. 19; (2) a heart of thanksgiving and humble surrender to God, v. 20; and (3) a heart of glad submission to authority, v. 21.

Reflect then: What fear/ambition/selfishness, or other controlling factor, other than the word of God, is presently at work in your life? What sinful behavior(s) does this produce? What promise or truth from God can you claim in your fight against this false controlling factor?

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