Jump Start # 2439
Ephesians 5:4 “and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”
Some things just fit and some things don’t. We understand that. You try to fit into a pair of pants that you really like, but find out you’ve put on some weight. You suck in your stomach, hold your breath, and button your pants. But the fit isn’t good. It just won’t work. You see this with little boys who are wearing ties for the first time. It may be at a wedding, and there they are tugging on the collar, with a miserable look on their faces. It’s not a good fit. If you have ever moved, you understand trying to fit a couch around a corner or through a door. I helped a guy move out of an apartment once. Had to tie a rope around the couch and lower it over the balcony. Parallel parking is all about being able to get a car to fit into a small spot.
And, through all of these life experiences we learn that some things fit and some things don’t. In our verse today, Paul illustrates a few things that just doesn’t fit with being a Christian. The very concept of a Christian is the word Christ. Christ who was holy, good, decent, righteous and pure. Now, trying to squeeze the impure into Christ simply won’t fit. There’s no room for it. And, for the followers of Christ, it’s the same. Some things just don’t fit with who we are and where we are going.
In this verse Paul names three things. He begins with filthiness. Not dirt on the hands, but dirt in the mind. Thinking, talking, acting dirty. Immoral. Improper jokes. Shameful TV shows. James said to cleanse your hands. We have been washed in the blood of Jesus. Filthiness won’t fit in with what we are doing. It sends mixed messages. Filthiness around other Christians means you are not acting as you should. To the world, you act like you want to be one of them, but you still have too much goodness in you. And, what generally happens is such a person doesn’t fit anywhere. We belong to Christ. We don’t fit into this world. The world is going downstream and we are swimming upstream.
Paul includes silly talking and coarse jesting—just misusing our tongues and wasting time. It’s not profitable, helpful, nor encouraging. It doesn’t build up. It simply doesn’t fit.
You can take a square peg and try to make it fit in a round hole but it won’t go easily. You’ll have to pound and pound on that square peg and you’ll split and splinter things. When you are done you may say, “Look, it fits,” but it really doesn’t. You ruined it and it wasn’t made for that. Is that any different than trying to fit the world into Christ? Folks want to follow Christ with a bottle of alcohol in their hands. They want to follow Christ but not go to worship. They want to follow Christ but drop the doctrine stuff. They want Christ to save them but they want to keep both feet in the world. They want to live like a sinner and die like a saint.
And, what is interesting in all of this is Paul’s use of “fit.” It was just understood. He didn’t have to explain himself or go into great details. It was just understood. If you are a Christian, some things just don’t fit. Don’t try to force them, they don’t fit. Don’t try to weave it together, it doesn’t fit. Spending time with the Gospels ought to present a picture of what God expects in us. It’s not hard to see. There is such a difference between Christ and the world. It’s like food, some things just do not go together. It’s like paint on the wall, some colors just do not work well together.
So, what this comes down to is a matter of which direction do I want to go? Following Christ puts me on a certain path with certain people. Staying with the world puts me on a different path and with different people. The two do not fit together. We follow Christ and His word or we don’t. We are not of this world or we are. We seek the things above or we don’t.
Now, what this comes down to is the fact that there are certain shows on TV, certain movies, certain concerts, certain places, and even certain people that simply do not fit with being a Christian. Like putting on those tight pants, you’ll be uncomfortable, miserable and trying to make something work that doesn’t work. When clothes don’t fit, either we get on a diet or we toss the clothes. So, it is for us. Either we fit in comfortably with Christ, or we fit in comfortably with the world. One thing people do not like and that is to be uncomfortable. They will do all that they can to make themselves comfortable. So, when the world and Christ do not fit, either I’ll drop the world or I’ll drop Christ. To keep both is be uncomfortable and that’s a place no one wants to be.
There are things that just do not fit in worship. There are things that just do not fit in a marriage. There are things that just do not fit in the heart of one who wants to go to Heaven. It’s time to stop trying to force things to fit and it’s time to simply make up our minds which way we want to go and do some serious throwing away.
God has prepared a place for you in Heaven. That’s one place where you do fit. It’s where you are supposed to be. It’s what God intended. But to get there, you can’t be dragging the world behind you. Some things simply do not fit.