27 October 2011

The Fertile Soil of Foolish Talk

Many evenings, as our children are playing or watching a movie, Heather and I will be sitting in our twin recliners, each with a computer in our lap.  We move briskly from page to page, checking emails, reading Facebook updates, perhaps researching a topic of interest.  More often than not, however, we are scrolling through the endless posts on Failblog, Failbooking, metapicture, Awkward Family Photos, or People of Walmart.  I confess that I have had endless hours of pleasure reveling in the randomness these sites provide. 

This morning, though, I was working through the study guide for the Cedarcreek fall series on being transformed and I came upon a passage well familiar to me from Ephesians 5:3-14,

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
    “Awake, O sleeper,
        and arise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

Verse 4 reads, "let there be no filthiness nor nor foolish talking nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead, let there be thanksgiving."  I started thinking about these websites.  I have snickered and giggled at many of the things I have seen.  Often the content is innocent, even cute.  At many other times, though the content is insidious.  They often contain jokes of a crude, or sexual nature and I find myself groaning and perhaps saying, "oh wow...I cannot believe they wrote that/said that/did that/wore that."  One of the websites in particular is also antagonistic toward Christianity.  I have justified my actions by saying, "oh, I'll just skip over those posts."  But they undoubtedly have an effect upon me. 

One of the effects I think PG-13 websites like these may have is that they make consumers start wondering what might be found on the next website.  I know that for me, when my thoughts get away from me, I find myself entertaining impure thoughts, covetousness, and the like.  Seeds planted and watered tend to grow in the right soil.  Crude joking is just the right type of soil to quickly grow impurity.  Ephesians 5 provides an "herbicide" of sorts, however.  First, Paul tells us to give thanks.  In other words, he encourages us to talk with God about the gifts he has given.  Second, he tells us to "try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord."  We accomplish that by immersing ourselves in Scripture.  Third, he tells us to "not become partners with them."  In other words, we should actively avoid impurity.  Finally, he tells us to "expose unfruitful works of darkness."  We accomplish that by talking with God and with others about our impurity.  In other words, we may walk in the light through avoidance of foolishness, prayer, feeding on God's word, and honest fellowship with other believers.

If you proclaim to follow Christ, I would encourage you to think about your day.  What are you filling your mind with?  Are you filling it with filthiness, crude joking, foolish talk, and empty words or are you seeking to live more and more in the light? 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.-Philippians 4:8

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