Watching a movie when the lip-sync is off is irritating, to say the least. Even when the words are heard a fraction of a second behind, the film is hard to watch. Lighting could be perfect, acting flawless, the camera angle splendid, and script inspiriting but the audience will not enjoy the movie. As I watched a couple minutes of an out-of-sync film recently, I realized my life can be off like this as well.
Here are some ways I have been out-of-sync, maybe you can relate.
I know God gave me something to do, but I do my own thing first. My priorities were placed before Him, lag time on obedience changes things.
God told me to wait, but I rush into something anyway. My timing and plans were placed before His.
The Holy Spirit tells me not to say something, but I utter it anyway. My stubborn words will have repercussions, timing is changed.
Through Jesus I have become a new creation, but I keep going back to my old ways. My lack of surrendering fully to Him as Lord now keeps me from experiencing His best.
It comes down to obedience. When we let the Word of God guide us, the Spirit convict and change us, then we will be a positive testimony to the living Lord.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:25-26 ESV
These words come on the scene right after the fruit of the Spirit. When we walk in step with Him it changes everything!
Do you remember when God sent twelve men in to scope out the Promised Land? Instead of coming back to the rest of Israel and praising God in faith for the good gift He was giving them, ten men declared their fears. Caleb and Joshua believed God.
The spies brought back fruit and faithless words. Here’s Deuteronomy 1:25-27 “ And they took in their hands some of the fruit of the land and brought it down to us, and brought us word again and said, ‘It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.’
26 “Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. 27 And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.”
In Joshua 14:7-8, Caleb recounts this, “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. 8 But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God.”
When God reminded them that He had been carrying them yet they didn’t believe, He told them the consequences for their rebellion, then they decided they would go. “’Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord. We ourselves will go up and fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.’ And every one of you fastened on his weapons of war and thought it easy to go up into the hill country. 42 And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’ ” (Deuteronomy 1:41-42)
Israel did not believe God, didn’t like the consequences, fought when God said no, and forty years of wandering in the wilderness resulted. A generation waited to enter.
We must be in step with the Spirit. It matters.
The end of Ephesians 4 is very practical and a natural continuation of the chapter. We have been made new! Our lives will reflect Christ.
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4:25 ESV)
God is honest. His words are always true. We are in sync with Him when we are also honest.
In November I visited a church that was working through Proverbs and giving practical application for families and individuals. The pastor rightly asked us to reflect personally, even considering what we present on Social Media, “Are you making things appear rosier than they are?”
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV)
The NIV says, “‘In your anger do not sin’[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.”
We know that Jesus had righteous anger, but that He did not sin. Are we like that? There are times we will be angry, but these should not result in our earthly, selfish, prideful responses.
“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (Ephesians 4:28)
Our lives are to be different now because of Christ. We do not take what isn’t ours. Who we were in the past, we are no longer. Sin that defined us before must not now because we are made new. The Christian uses his or her hands for the purpose of sharing with those who are in need. When we are trusting in the Savior the goal of our work is glorify God and help others. When the world sees that, they’ll notice the work of Christ in our lives!
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV)
Words spill from what our hearts are filled with. Do my words point to Christ? I must throw out the trash that doesn’t belong in this place. “Love never degrades others or places things above human values,” (p.925, Richards).
Bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice need to go. Kindness and compassion are to be residents. I am to be forgiving because in Christ God has forgiven me! I’m so thankful for that. If I know forgiveness by God, of course I will forgive. Is it easy? No. Is it a clear mark of being in Christ? Yes!
When I refuse to forgive, choose to slander, and continue with my old ways I am disobeying God. Like a movie with the lip-sync problem, I might have some things that are done right in my life, but anyone watching will be disappointed.
Sitting in front of the computer screen trying to align a video and audio track can be stressful. This year I found a fantastic tool: “Sync by Audio.” This function allows me to select the audio and video track, click the button and the work is done for me! It reminds me of God’s abundant grace through Christ.
What God said, Jesus did completely, perfectly, and at just the right time.
The work is done.
Dear Holy God, please align my very thoughts and being with You. Thank You for forgiving me. Help me to forgive. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
Questions to Ponder
Where has your life been out of sync with God?
In the last year how have you seen God sanctifying you?