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Sometimes the Bible is full of fantastic metaphors and sometimes it’s just frank and forthright. Here we have an example of the latter, so why is it still so easy to justify sin?

Ephesians 5:3-4

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. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

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Well. What more is there to say? Here, Paul has given us a passage that is so incredibly direct. Nothing to read into here; nary an eyeball gouged or a hand cut off. What excuse do we then have as Christians to not follow God’s commands when they’re laid out so clearly for us? Unfortunately, we can still manage to come up with some pretty wild excuses and justifications for sin. I know I sure do. But I always find that when I’m reminded of why God sets these standards for us, all those excuses suddenly begin to look mighty foolish.

The other night, I was watching My Name Is Earl. In this episode, Earl was prompted to remember an embarrassing event in his childhood. At the public pool, he’d stood on the high diving board ready to jump, but the lifeguard on patrol commanded he remove his shirt before diving in. Reluctantly, young Earl took off his shirt to reveal unusually hairy nipples, followed by laughter from the kids in the pool and Earl running away. Years later, he decides to confront this lifeguard for embarrassing him, so he goes to back to the pool where the lifeguard still works to accuse him of being a mean jerk. The lifeguard responds by making it clear that embarrassing kids is not in his interest, and asks if it had ever occurred to Earl that maybe he was being made to remove his shirt for his own good. As for the hairy nipples, he says “who cares?” Who cares about being embarrassed when the alternative is drowning with a shirt smothering your face? The lifeguard could foresee consequences that Earl could not.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Yep, God is on our side. He knows all the outcomes that we can never foresee and he only gives us instructions that are for our own good.

Head: Reflect on the passage. Is there anything you can learn from it?

Heart: How does this impact the way you see God’s commands?

Hands: How can you encourage your Christian friends to trust God when they are struggling with his commands?

Prayer: Dear Father, You are all-knowing and all-loving. Thank you for this passage and how it provides me with such clear directions. I’m sorry for the times when I’ve made weak excuses to justify sin. Thank you that by your son, you always forgive and you never close the door on me. Please help me to always remember that you give these commands because you love me and only want what’s best for me. Allow this knowledge to influence my heart to serve you better. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen

A song to listen to: The Love of the Father       

Stephanie Wiseman

This Grow Daily was  originally posted as part of the God With Us – Matthew series. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the Grow Dailys over the years.

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