TRUTH: Improper Behaviors

As a little boy, my mom regularly told me that when I go out into this world that I represented her. She told me to make sure that I represented her well and according to how she raised me. Parents all over the world have identified what is proper and improper behaviors for their children. Businesses are similar. Most businesses have core values that they espouse and demand of their employees. Today’s post is of similar ilk regarding the TRUTH: Improper Behaviors.

In Ephesians 4, Paul began telling us the TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self. In Ephesians 5, he extends the types of behaviors that are befitting and proper for the person who claim to have surrendered their will and lives to follow Jesus Christ as the example. Listen to what Paul says in the first few verse of chapter 5.

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.

First, there is the call to follow God’s example, Jesus Christ, by walking in the way of love by sacrificing your life to God. Jesus, like the rest of us, had a choice. He could have chosen to carry and die on the cross, or He could have balked at that notion of dying on the cross. If He had, man would not have any means to be forgiven of his sin and was perpetually doomed to face the wrath of God.

Since Christ did offer Himself as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, through Him. For those who surrender their live to Jesus in exchange for that forgiveness and eternal life with God, we are to follow Jesus’ example by living in obedience to God the Father’s expectations just as we do for our earthly parents. We need to know and obey the Word about the TRUTH: Improper Behaviors.

The text tells us “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.” If we were to take those three in totality, we would be talking for days. Let’s look at the behaviors God expects of us regarding sex. The Word tells us there must not be a hint of sexual immorality – that is for married or unmarried people. For married persons, that would be adultery. For unmarried people, sex would be termed fornication. In either case, God has boundaries for us all.

The TRUTH: Improper Behaviors refers to us all. Once again here, sex is the issue. God says there must not be a hint. The NASB and NKJV says that sexual impurity must not even be named among you. I favor how the NIV says it by hint. As it causes me to remember Matthew 5:28 in which Jesus says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus said the hint here is what we have thought is a sin. We know that a thought produces an action. James 1:14-15 tells us that “14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” That death there is sin. Jesus came that we might life and life more abundantly; therefore, He tells us to avoid sin.

The TRUTH: Improper Behaviors is that followers of Jesus should not engage in behaviors that bring death i.e. sinful thoughts or actions. It is extremely hard to check our thoughts, but that is the level of expectation by God. He expects our thoughts to be pure and holy for He is holy. Peter says it for us – 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” We are called to follow Jesus’ example. Jesus was holy, so we too must be holy. 

David, who like us had many flaws, shows us the way to clearing our thoughts. First in Psalm 51, He asks God to “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” In Psalm 119, David also poses the question “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word… 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Addressing our hearts and our minds is the key to live the TRUTH about Improper Behaviors. 

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