The worthy walk of a Christian is filled with light contrasting the spiritual darkness of the world.

In these verses, Paul gives a pretty specific description of the lifestyle of darkness. The passage is not assuming that Christians are still living in the darkness described – rather, the Holy Spirit gives us a reminder of what we are not to go back to. It’s not worth going back! Our delight, as people transformed by His grace, is to live to serve Jesus.

Sensual Self-Indulgence (verse 3)

Our culture is saturated in immorality, impurity, and greed. Immorality is any intimacy outside of marriage, the boundary God has set. Impurity includes thoughts and words related to immorality. Greed carries the idea of over-reaching, taking what is not yours, and is the closely connected to the first two.

It’s not popular to stand against these things, but Scripture is clear that we must separate ourselves from this lifestyle. As God’s holy people, we are not even to talk about such things. God’s design is for intimacy inside the bounds of marriage, a giving relationship and not one of selfishly taking. Sin always perverts what God created as good.

Verbal Self-Indulgence (verse 4)

Paul’s second list of three is related to the first set. It describes speech that kills. All these words refer to joking about immorality. The word for “silly” is where we get our word “moron.” Dark speech twists what was made beautiful by God. Again, this kind of speech does not belong among God’s people.

The Lord never says “no” to one thing without giving us another thing to do that’s of much more quality. The replacement for this destructive speech pattern is thanksgiving.

The Eternal Destination of the Self-Indulgent (verse 5-6)

When you see people living a consistent lifestyle of impurity, don’t be angry. Either they have not been properly discipled, or they have never known Christ. Impurity is only natural for those with the old nature. Have pity on such souls, for their eternity is at stake.

The Christian Response to Self-Indulgence (verse 7)

God’s holy people are not to “partake” in this dark lifestyle. The Greek word, from which we get the word “symmetry,” indicates that we are not to blend in or let our light be polluted, but to stand out. As we do this in a spirit of love towards those living in darkness, we will find opportunities to introduce people to the Light.

Application Points

  • Is your life characterized by thanksgiving? Are you known as a thankful person? Let these verses be a reminder of what you were saved from. As a Christian, you are no longer compelled to live in darkness! What better reason for giving thanks to God?
  • How do you respond when you see people living an impure lifestyle? Do you respond with anger or pity? Jesus responded with pity to such people. Ask Him to enable you to respond in love, in order to win their souls for Him.
  • Does your light shine brightly in our culture’s darkness, or do has it been polluted? Honor God with your lifestyle, and pray for opportunities to lovingly share how Jesus changed you. If you’ve found yourself slipping back into old habits, “repent, forsake, and prosper.”

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 – Immorality wrongs your brother and sister in Christ.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Christians, regardless of age, should be known as thankful people.
A Hymn to Encourage: “Count Your Blessings”

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.