Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scripture
From: Ephesians 5.11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
We are taught in Scripture to comfort one another with the comforts we’ve been comforted with (2 Cor. 1.4). In that spirit I would like to pass on to you one of the most powerful weapons for dealing with indwelling sin that I’ve had the joy of experiencing.
All of us struggle with indwelling sin – whether we want to admit it or not. And far too often, we are even unwilling to make our struggles known to other Christians. Perhaps it is simple shame, fear of exposure, worries about what the other will think of us in the future, or maybe even what they might pass on to someone else. Most of these shouldn’t even have to make a blip on our radar screen. Too sadly and realistically, they do.
That being said, this short verse nestled in Eph. 5, echoes an Old Testament principle – Prov. 28.13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. While the idea is more subtle in Proverbs, it is equally as applicable. And the way I have come to see and utilize these passages is in terms of actual battle – in terms of not giving into temptation, not simply dealing with its aftermath – as the Proverbs passage is most often applied. Nor in dealing with OTHER’S sins, as the Ephesians verse is most often applied.
Here is the point then, simple, profound, powerful and practical. To refrain from taking part in the unfruitful works of darkness, the most effective thing you can do, is to take your temptation to God right then, and expose it – BEFORE you act on it. In other words, we need to enlist God’s intervention right up front. And that is going to call for a brutal kind of truthfulness within ourselves, and before Him. A brand of truthfulness many of us are not conversant with. and even less comfortable with.
That my dear friend, is where we tend to balk. For very often (at least has been so in my own experience) we do not even want to admit to ourselves what it is we are contemplating inwardly – let alone confess it to God before we’ve even acted upon it. And when I say admit – I mean, call it for what it is in all of its horrific reality. Sin has an incubation period. Each person is tempted when he is lured away and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is conceived, gives birth to sin. (James 1.14-15) It is in the owning of the desire right up front – recognizing it and calling it what it is, that we find the help we so desperately cry for. To run to God when the thought first flashes through the mind, and confess, that apart from His intervention, this is what you’ve conceived inwardly, and you are seeking His Spirit’s work to keep it from bearing fruit. Bring it to the light. Expose it. And it dies in His presence.
Beloved, I cannot begin to tell you how wonderfully and sweetly and consistently God honors and answers such interaction and dependence upon His indwelling Spirit. He loves to be drawn into the midst of it. To be our champion. To let us learn how truly “the battle is the Lord’s.” Our chief failure is in not running to Him BEFORE we eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Enlisting His aid to do battle with the thoughts and the Satanic suggestions rather than trying to face them on our own, and then hiding in shame in disgrace because we are unable to meet and beat the Enemy singlehandedly.
You need to hear this – There is no shame in exposing the sin this way. The shame comes as the aftermath of failure, NEVER in the pre-emptive confession and plea for help. Never. God will never chide you with “you’re coming back to me with that AGAIN?” Never. NEVER! Instead, He will greet you with open arms and you will know the smile of His pleasure because you tore down the walls and fled to His waiting arms.
This beloved is what true intimacy with God looks like. It is being naked, AND unashamed before his face.
It is freedom in Christ.