Living As Children Of Light
SEARCH FOR AN HONEST MAN — I love this story which reportedly came from Sports Illustrated (I do not know which issue):
The game was played in Wellington, Florida. In it, a seven-year-old first baseman, Tanner Munsey, fielded a ground ball and tried to tag a runner going from first to second base.
The umpire, Laura Benson, called the runner out, but young Tanner immediately ran to her side and said, "Ma'am, I didn't tag the runner." Umpire Benson reversed herself, sent the runner to second base, and Tanner's coach gave him the game ball for his honesty.
Two weeks later, Laura Benson was again the umpire and Tanner was playing shortstop when a similar play occurred. This time Benson ruled that Tanner had missed the tag on a runner going to third base, and she called the runner safe. Tanner looked at Benson and without saying a word, tossed the ball to the catcher and returned to his position.
Benson sensed something was wrong. "Did you tag the runner?" She asked Tanner.
His reply: "Yes."
Benson then called the runner out. The opposing coaches protested until she explained what had happened two weeks earlier. "If a kid is that honest," she said, "I have to give it to him."
It may be that no Christian characteristic has suffered more in our society than honesty. It's lacking in the workplace, it's lacking in many of our marriages, it's lacking in our government, and sometimes it's even lacking in our churches. Like Diogenes of ancient Greece, we sometimes feel the urge to take our lantern and begin our search for an honest man.
There is something about Christians that should stand out like a neon sign on a dark night. Jesus wants his people to be known as a people of truth. We should establish a reputation, like Tanner, for speaking the truth even when it would benefit us to do otherwise. Then, and only then, will those around us trust what we say without hesitation, without wondering whether we really mean what we say or not.
"Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another." (Ephesians 4:25)
May God help you to be that person of truth that Diogenes was looking for (and God still is, too).
Opening Questions — Get Us Thinking:
· What determines our actions?
Instructions for Christian Living — Ephesians 4:17-32
17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Research Questions — “Dig Deeper” to find God’s Will
1. Paul "insisted on it in the Lord" so what is he really saying to them and us today?
2. What does it mean to be "darkened in understanding"?
3. According to verses 17-19, how do the mind, heart and conscience influence the actions of non-believers? How are Christians to deal with these realities?
4. In verse 20 Paul starts with a contrast, is the picture Paul presents of the world gloomy pessimism?
5. How does Paul describe his readers' past life when they walked "as Gentile" or the behavior of the "old" self? The "new" self? v. 22
6. How would you compare moral standards today with the moral standards in Paul's day?
7. How do you go about "putting off" and "putting on"? Can the Christian ever attain a complete transformation in this life?
8. How important is truth, and how evil is falsehood? v. 25
9. Anger -- what is it, why is it, how do you overcome it?
10. Stealing -- how does it feel to experience theft? What should we be doing?
Reflective Questions — Live it today.
1. What are the positive and/or negative motives which prompt you to live a Christian life? Where do you feel you are making progress in your Christian life?
2. According to verse 29, what should come out of our mouth?
3. How do we avoid grieving the Holy Spirit?
4. Of the challenges Paul gives to the Christian in the last two paragraphs, what are the top two you need to work on?
5. What have you learned about forgiveness?
6. How does this equip us be a better disciple and help empower us to “make disciples”?
Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
-- Proverbs 16:32