“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partners with them.”
Influencing others is a big deal, but I guess that’s how it has always been. All kinds of things influence us in some way; some are normal and some are totally outlandish. Things like TV, magazines, sports, books, social media, movies, fake news, real news, work, friendships and responsibilities all speak into our lives. We are influenced everywhere we go and by all kinds of people or things. Some of it is good and some of it is empty. While certain things influence more, it seems like words have a certain power to really push us one way or another. Which is why we must be careful about what we take in.
That is the warning Paul is giving to the Ephesians and to us: Don’t be deceived by the wrong influencer! The progression of chapter 5 reminds us we are children of God (v. 1-2), but sin can lead us away (v. 3-5); then, we open ourselves to deceptive influences (v. 6-7). Empty words, images, and even people will get in the way of God’s truth. The result or consequence is internal pain or anguish, which can hurt those we care about. Think of Pinocchio not listening to Geppetto or Jiminy Cricket and then going to Pleasure Island. He was deceived, partnered with the wrong people, disobeyed and found trouble. Paul is saying don’t be like Pinocchio!
God has given us Scripture to guide and open our eyes to his perfect way, which is better. Our responsibility is to listen and then take all the different influences and test them through the lens of Jesus (Acts 17:11).
LIVE THE STORY: Take a moment to think of who or what has the biggest influence on your mind and heart. Which ones point you to Jesus? Which ones pull you away from Him? Now take a moment to pray and thank God for the positive influences. Then take a moment and ask God to help you
overcome the negative influences. Ask God to discern who you should listen to.
Finally, what negative influences can you take a break from and let God work in you?