Todays readings.. Numbers 22&23, Proverbs 16, Ephesians 3&4
Are you sensitive? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It seems to us that people generally have largely lost whatever ability they had to be really sensitive to the feelings of others. It is wonderful that there are always some who will give help to victims of some tragedy, such as when there are floods or storms, but is that as far as it goes? Nearly everyone is living for themselves; almost all follow the principle of – ‘self-first’.
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, as in his other letters, stresses the need for the committed follower of Christ to be sensitive to the feelings and needs of fellow believers. As we completed reading Galatians we may have noticed v.10 in the last chapter, “as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially those who are of the household of faith.”
Today in Ephesians we read, “Put away falsehood, let each of you speak the truth to his neighbours for we are members one of another” [4 v.25] Challenging isn’t it to be described as “members one of another”! It is because committed believers have become, in God’s eyes, one spiritual family.
We came across the word sensitivity when reading the NIV Bible which translates Paul as writing that they “must no longer live as the Gentiles (non-Christians) do, in the futility of their thinking … having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with continual lust for more” [v.17,19]
The ESV (which we normally use) translates it as “they have become callous” – and that is what the world today has become as it becomes less and less Christian. The true believer is the very opposite! “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth”, writes Paul, “but only such as is good … that it may give grace to those who hear” [v.29]
This fits in with today’s Proverb’s reading, “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious … gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” [Ch. 16 v.23,24]. This is the best possible advice for us in this insensitive world. Next Friday, which is known as, ‘Good Friday,’ some in the world vaguely remember that it is to do with the crucifixion of Christ. Did Jesus ‘die in vain’? May our reading of God’s word make our memory of him grow stronger and make us more and more like Him – otherwise our reading is in vain.