Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How To Walk on Water

Ephesians 4:31 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

I’m amazed at how many folks who read the Bible and say they believe every word can find so many routes around actually taking the Bible seriously when it comes to a passage like this one. Some of these same people can quote chapter and verse about what God has to say about sin in other folks, yet they don’t seem nearly as fascinated by what the Bible has to say about their own sin.

Ephesians 4:31 is a directive straight for the heart of the church. Get rid of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice. Here’s how each word of these nasty negatives is defined:
1. Bitterness – poison, sharp harsh feelings, acridity (the state of being constantly irritated)
2. Wrath – literally means to “blow smoke” or breathe hard. Fierce feelings of indignation.
3. Anger – violently passionate, indignant and generally abhorrent of others.
4. Clamor – to shriek or croak like a crow. An outcry of grief or agitation.
5. Slander – to vilify people. The greek word is “blasphemia”; as if to blaspheme a human like we might otherwise blaspheme God!
6. Malice – to aim worthlessness. To carry bad feelings and vilification of others.

I love the R.D.V. of the Bible….the Randy Dean Version. Ready? Here’s the R.D.V. of Ephesians 4:31; “Keep a healthy internal review of your emotions so that you are consistently aware of and removing from your heart every wasteful negative emotion. Sharp harsh feelings toward anyone for any reason must go! Breathing hard and fierce against anyone for any reason must go! Being indignant, disgusted and dwelling on how “against” someone your ideas are, must go! Making rude noises or disgusted sounds about other people must go! Turning people into villains because they don’t share your opinions, must go! (In fact, learning to look at all people as the expression of the image of God should keep this nasty habit far from you. Imagine yourself talking about God the way you talk about some people. It would be blasphemous!) Lugging around a generalized bad feeling about anybody and thus diminishing the value or worth of anyone for any reason, anywhere must go! Why? Because we were not designed to carry these high levels of toxicity in our bodies or our minds; we were designed to carry only the love and forgiveness that each one of us received from Christ and give it away as much as we like receiving it.”

I take aim at this kind of moral inventory on page 97 of my book, RADIANCE "The crippled man lowered through the roof in the Gospel of Mark had not spoken a word, but Jesus started the conversation by telling him that his sins were forgiven. The woman caught in the act of adultery and brutally dragged to Jesus had not whispered a word of repentance when Jesus took charge of the situation with the anointing to forgive her. The butchers standing around the cross were barely coherent due to their vile task, but Jesus spoke to the mountain of their sin and commanded forgiveness upon them."

Jesus didn’t have any of the Ephesians 4:31 list of poisons in His system. He didn’t have it in Him to wonder, “I wonder if this guy is really sick or if he just likes the attention? I wonder if this lady has done this before? Maybe she’s got it coming. If these jerks tearing my body to shreds only knew who they were touching, they’d be plenty sorry…in fact, hey God! Show these perverts how wrong their sin is!”

No wonder Jesus was full of life when He called Lazurus out of the tomb. No wonder Jesus could touch the sick and they were immediately healed. No wonder a woman washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. No wonder He walked on water…His personal burden was very light.

I’m preparing my body to be a living sacrifice emptied of toxins and consumed with the Presence of God. I’m longing to be just as light as Jesus.