2 at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot. 3 Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years …
3 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. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
The days are evil! I need to be wise, putting away my foolishness, carefully seeking to understand the will of the Lord. I can easily accept that I need to live like Paul explains in Ephesians chapter 5. However, when I read about people who have been caught in the center of God’s will, I am forced to stop and ponder. Isaiah was commanded by God to run around naked and barefoot for three entire years. This would definitely change the way my life looks. Can you even imagine what would happen to me if I was asked to do this today (assuming I actually listened and did it). Having been raised in Western Culture, I like to have everything fit into my orderly life in a neat, clean, easily explained fashion. I like to think that I would respond with a yes to anything God asks me to do. But…… when I’m being honest, I really hope he doesn’t ask too much of me. I don’t really want anything messing up my life. I don’t want to lose my friends or have everyone laughing at me. This leads me to wonder if God’s will is really so hard to find or if I am just not wanting to hear what he is telling me.
It seems to me that we actually find comfort in our struggle with the things Paul lists in verses three through five. Paul says that there must not be even a hint of these bad behaviors and yet these types of behaviors are the kinds of things that I struggle with most. I’m afraid that I do this because it makes it easier to ignore the more difficult things that God asks of me. When people ask me what my struggle is, I have to answer “my pride!” How radical would it be to have to respond with “Jesus asked me to walk around naked for three years and I’m trying to figure out how not to get arrested?” I doubt that Jesus needs me to run around naked but I’m pretty sure that he expects more from me than a struggle with things that Paul claims have no room in our lives at all. Jesus died for me so that I would no longer be a slave to these things . I am now free to serve my Savior and Lord, Jesus! I am ready Lord, show me your will so that I may follow it where ever it may lead!
One response to “Isaiah 20,21,22; Ephesians 5:1-16”
This is the way of the cross, isn’t it, Ed? The reason many of these sins are our constant challenges is to busy ourselves with our thoughts, temptations, and impulses. Staying busy fighting all that is within will keep us occupied. Then when we are called to suffer, be rejected, or even killed for faith in Christ or for preaching His gospel, we may be taken by surprise and be unprepared. The way of the cross is denying oneself, but so much more. Living for others, devoted to the study of God’s word, delighted to worship, and loving every minute of this kingdom life more than we love all else. This is the way of the cross, isn’t it?