Be Less Like the World and More Like God
8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
The Bible both generally and specifically tells us what we shouldn’t (and should) do. Here are a few more things that we are told to remove from our lives:
- In the Greek, orgEn, or angry indignation. Have you every been indignantly angry at something or someone? This has the appearance of pride – that you have been wronged – and the person or situation must be addressed to preserve your good name. But Jesus was falsely accused, and did not defend Himself, but instead entrusted the issue to the One who judges justly. We should do the same.
- In the Greek, thumon, or fury. I’m sure you have heard the colloquialism, “Oh, it’s on!” We greatly desire to personally address all wrongs, real or perceived, in our lives. And we can certainly “go on the warpath” to get there. But God has said that vengeance is His and He will repay. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
- In the Greek, kakian. Again, we are not even to entertain thoughts of retribution or desire that harm come to others. Jesus says that we are to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those that curse us, and pray for those who do evil against us.
- In the Greek, blasphEmian – we get our word “blaspheme” from it. Our speech towards others should build up, not tear down. Again, as with the other issues above, we should not take these situations into our own hands, but rather let God deal with them. Sometimes God will deal with a person far more powerfully than we could ever do or even imagine. But did not God also show us favor and woo us even when we hated Him?
- Filthy Language
- In the Greek, asischrologian. When we use foul, filthy language, we do not show the purity of speech that God desires of us. Who would want to be around someone whose speech consisted of every other word being a profanity? While (darkly and shockingly) colorful, it both detracts from the beauty of whatever the person was trying to convey and sacrifices the power of the message for emotional shock value. It may also indicate that the person may not have a sufficient command of their spoken language to express themselves with clarity and forethought. Use of this type of language also shows a lack of maturity. Imagine what the world thinks when a person uses profanity to convey the Gospel message! Does God ever do that in the Bible when He speaks to people?
Satan is the father of lies, and it is his native tongue. We should no longer talk in his language when speaking with each other, but rather talk in the language that our Father speaks. Jesus said:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If Jesus is the Truth, and the Word of God, should we not also speak the truth when we speak? How can we properly bear God’s image to others when we don’t speak as He speaks?
We are told to put on our new self. This is a conscious action, something that we must do. We have already been provided imputed righteousness. It is time that we begin to speak and act in accordance with it. When we do not, it is like a person who says “Yes” to you but nods their head back and forth in a “no” gesture. It sends mixed signals to the intended recipient. Let’s ensure that our words and actions are in alignment with our positional righteousness.
To ensure that this occurs, we must continually renew our minds with the Word of God. Only by studying and applying the lessons learned in the Bible can our minds be transformed into thinking the way that God thinks. One of the most interesting effects of reading and praying over scripture is that we become aware of connections to other scripture that we have not seen before. This reinforces scripture into our minds, and helps us to more obediently live in accordance with the Word. And as we do that, God will reveal deeper truths to us. He does this both broadly and with precision.
It is very interesting to notice that as we become obedient, God shows us nuances in scripture to prune us so that we can become more obedient. Do you yearn to grow in God’s Word? Be obedient to the truth that God has already revealed to you. It is through obedience that God shows us that we are ready to receive a greater revelation of truth. Remember – you will be judged based on what you did with what you understood. This should be a sobering warning to all who claim the name of Christ.
Once our mind operates this way, our actions will follow. As we experience victory in areas of our life that were contrary to the Word of God, we should take encouragement that God is helping us to be better emissaries for Him.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask ourselves a question: Am I acting and speaking in a manner that properly reflects the righteousness of God?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You greatly desire that Your children represent You in their actions and words. Grant me wisdom and discernment that my thoughts and actions would reflect Your holiness and righteousness in such a way that it brings glory to Your name. Remove from me anything that would cause me to improperly represent You as I work out my salvation with reverential fear and trembling. Help me to be reminded of Your character and nature before I do or say anything. Bring to mind Your word that it would be a guide and example to me so that I will not stray and bring shame upon myself and Your holy name. May my speech be seasoned with salt, and my life a light on a hill, that all who hear and see me would hear and see You. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?