Intro: The biblical definition of confuse is: to mix or blend things so that they cannot be distinguished. Therefore, confusion is associated with a lack of clarity, misunderstanding of the truth, and a state of disorder. According to Scripture, God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor 14:33). So, confusion is the work of evil; it is sent by the enemy to divide, separate, and destroy the Truth. Because of sin, the world is confused about God and his authority to set the standard for his human creation.
Even though the world is confused by sin, believers can live in the clarity of the Truth. The Holy Spirit lives in believers and convicts us of sin—gives us a new way to think—so we do not make a practice of what we know is unrighteous. True, we all sin, but because of the light of Christ and his Word, we know what grieves God and we quickly repent and seek to live separated from those things the enemy uses to bring confusion. Remember, obedience to God thwarts the work of evil.
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul asks the believers in Ephesus to stop sinning: any thought, word, or action that does not conform to God’s will. Now, you might think no believer would be all right with lying, stealing, or acting out their rage or lust; however, Paul has to correct the believers because they are, in fact, acting just like unbelievers.
This can happen when we grieve the Holy Spirit by not honoring his conviction in our hearts. When we choose to grieve the Spirit, we open a spiritual door and confusion enters to harden our hearts and darken our minds. Things that were once clear are now distorted. So, Paul releases the following challenge to the early believers as a warning: Get rid of your evil behavior…and imitate God in everything you do (Eph 4:31, 5:1). Such a great reminder for us, as well.
Ephesians 4:17-5:2 NLT Living as Children of Light
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles [unbelievers] do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[put his seal/mark on you] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Living in the Light
5 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Prayer: Lord, please help us to listen and obey the convicting work of the Spirit. We want the Holy Spirit to guide us, so we do not fall into a state of confusion over things you make clear in your Word. We want our lives to glorify you as we choose to live in the truth. So, please help us live in the Light. In Jesus’ name. Amen.