Empty Words by A. W. Tozer
Wed, December 15, 2021
We Christians owe it to ourselves and to the human race to be above all persons, candid, downright and completely transparent. We must have no truck with fancy, but see to it that our religious talk hugs the facts as tightly as a glove and that our words always have some reality corresponding to them.
Over the years I have been disturbed more than a little by the vague unreality of much that I hear among religious people. This is not a charge of insincerity. I have no doubt of the sincerity of most religious persons. It is the lack of reality that disturbs me.
Indeed the gravity of the situation is increased by the very earnestness with which many persons are occupied with unreality. Religion stands at the top as being among all fields of human interest the one most addicted to words.
Nowhere else are there so many words and so few deeds to support them.
There is something about a religious gathering, and particularly about a church building, that produces in the worshiper a state of pleasant languor and suspends his critical faculties for the duration of the service.
The average Christian goes to church expecting to hear certain words and phrases and the average preacher knows what they are. It does not matter too much in what order they occur, and if they should be spoken with a considerable degree of enthusiasm, so much the better; only let them be familiar and harmless. Nothing more is required or expected.
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.
— Ephesians 5:6
There are words full of meaning, expressing the heart. And there are empty words by which we may deceive ourselves and others. By empty words we may "talk the talk" while not "walking the walk."
Father, I cannot control the words of others but I am responsible for my own. Give me increased sensitivity to the use of words that fail to express spiritual reality.
Ephesians 5:1-17 Amplified Version Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; and walk continually in love [that is, value one another--practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance. [Eze. 20:41]
5:3 But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith].
5:4 Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God].
5:5 For be sure of this: no immoral, impure, or greedy person--for that one is [in effect] an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God [for such a person places a higher value on something other than God].
5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments [that encourage you to sin], for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience [those who habitually sin]. [Lev. 18:24-25]
5:7 So do not participate or even associate with them [in the rebelliousness of sin].
5:8 For once you were darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [live as those who are native-born to the Light] (for the fruit [the effect, the result] of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn [by experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [and letting your lifestyles be examples of what is most acceptable to Him--your behavior expressing gratitude to God for your salvation].
5:11 Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them [by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character]; for it is disgraceful even to mention the things that such people practice in secret.
5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light [of God's precepts], for it is light that makes everything visible.
5:14 For this reason He says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine [as dawn] upon you and give you light." [Isa. 26:19; Isa. 51:17; Isa. 52:1; Isa. 60:1-2]
5:15 Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.
5:17 Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is.