Isaiah 49:13-50:11; Ephesians 4:25-32; Psalms 69:19-31; Proverbs 17:22
OT: “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are instructed to know how to sustain the weary with a word. He awakens me each morning; he awakens my ear to listen like those being instructed. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I did not turn back. I gave my back to those who beat me, and my cheeks to those who tore out my beard. I did not hide my face from scorn and spitting. The Lord God will help me; therefore I have not been humiliated; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 50:4-7 CSB)
Though Isaiah wrote these words, he wrote them in the voice of the prophesied Servant-Messiah – fulfilled some 700 years later through the life of Jesus Christ. Through reading the gospel accounts in the New Testament, we know that it was Jesus’ practice to meet with the Father in prayer early in the morning. It was then in those morning hours, as He was alone with the Father in the secret place, that Jesus was instructed on what He should do, what He should say, and where He should go. Hebrews 5:8 tells us that though Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience from what He suffered. Philippians 2:8 tells us that Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross. In Luke 9:51, after He met with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, we see Jesus setting His face like flint to Jerusalem in order to accomplish all that the Father had instructed Him to do. Though Jesus was treated shamefully, Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that because of His obedience unto His humiliating treatment, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name. His shame and humiliation lasted for a moment – His glory will last for eternity.
Though Jesus was completely human and was tempted in every way to react to things in a human way, He did not submit to His humanity, but in everything and in every way, submitted to the heavenly nature that was in Him by the Holy Spirit. Because Christ was obedient to the Father’s word, will and ways, we can too – by the Holy Spirit of Christ who dwells within us by faith.
NT: “Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity. Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you” (Ephesians 4:25-32 CSB)
In Ephesians 4:22-24, Paul told the Ephesian believers (and us) that in order to walk worthy of the calling we have in Christ, we need to take off the old way of living life and put on the new self that was created by the Spirit according to God’s likeness. In the verses above, Paul gave the Ephesian believers (and us) a practical application of taking off the old way (the way of humanity) and putting on the new nature (the nature of Christ). The human way of reacting to situations and dealing with challenges involves lying, anger, stealing, foul language and bitterness. Most people agree that lying is wrong, yet most people engage in lying when it benefits them. While anger in and of itself is not wrong, it is very human to give ourselves over to anger and allow it to control us – thus giving the devil a place of influence and power in our lives. Most people believe that stealing is wrong, but will often times justify it if it meets their needs. Foul language (rotten, immoral, corrupted, unfit words) has become an epidemic amongst believers in our day. Instead of using the curse word du jour to color or speech, we should be concerned with and involved in edifying speech that encourages and builds people up. Bitterness – something that is also rampant amongst believers in our day – is a poisonous attitude that we can allow to develop in us against those who offend us, mistreat us, or even disagree with us. If we allow bitterness to fester, it leads to wrath, slander, malice and other sinful behaviors.
All of those things are carnal and rooted in sin. Paul said that those actions and attitudes actually grieve (bring sorrow and offend) the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Christ that is within us. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a guarantee… it is the Holy Spirit who seals us in Christ. What happens if we grieve Him so much with our attitudes and behaviors that He leaves us to our own devices? It is the Holy Spirit within us that convicts us, leads us, and equips us to be transformed from glory to glory into the likeness of Christ. We can, by God’s grace through faith, learn to listen and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit instead of the voice of our own carnality. Then we, like Christ, will be recipients and diffusers of God’s glory on the earth and in the life to come.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You have deposited Your Spirit within me, that I may deny the flesh and choose to submit to the new heavenly nature that I have in You. I don’t ever want to grieve Your Spirit – but instead desire to submit to His voice and leading fully. Give me grace as I choose to obey. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.