Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. – Ephesians 5:1-5
We exist not for personal pleasure or popularity but for the glory of God. Our focus everyday should be on giving God the glory to His Name. The way we do this is to love Him and serve Him in everything we do. Jesus taught that the greatest love there is personal sacrifice for the benefit of another person:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13
But how do lay down our lives for a God Who is eternal. How can we die for Him?
Jesus, later in His ministry, described to us exactly how we do this:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one ofthe leastofthese my brethren, ye have done it unto me. – Matthew 25:40
We love God by loving others. We serve God by serving others. Its that simple.
Paul then instructs on behaviors we should avoid as Christians. The sins listed in verses 3 through 5 have at least two common characteristics. They promote the ideas of personal pleasure or personal glory. These ideas work against the principle of loving others. Our focus must be on others.
These behaviors don’t follow the rules of the game. If we stray off into these paths, we are playing a game that the wicked like to play. So basically, Paul is asking, “If you can follow Jesus and have joy like playing a game as a child, why would you ever want to stop and act like those who are not heirs of Christ?”
Always remember how to define joy.
J – Jesus
O – Others
Y – Yourself
In using this acronym, you need only focus on the J and the O. When you follow Jesus by blessing others, God takes care of the you better than you ever could.