Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.Ephesians 5:6
Empty words it seems like the perfect phrase for so many of the words filling our lives today. Yet obviously empty words were a matter of concern to the Apostle Paul as he wrote two millennia ago.
We don’t know exactly whom Paul had in mind when he wrote “Let no one deceive you with empty words.” The context suggests that these deceivers might have claimed that immortality, impurity, and greed were really not such a big deal. Perhaps they were Christians who misconstrued God’s grace as an opportunity for amply sinning without consequences. Perhaps they were pagans who objected to the narrow-mindedness and over-reactions of Christians who reject activities that were common in the Greco-Roman world but inconsistent with Christian discipleship.
No matter whom Paul was thinking of when he wrote, he characterized their claims as “empty words.” Why?
Empty words are those that like substance, wisdom, or truth. They are words not filled with reality or matched with action. The famed fourth century preacher. John Chrysostom, said one when preaching on this verse from Ephesians. “There are people among us who want to diminish the force of words… Empty words are words that are for a moment attractive but in no way are proved by deeds.
Paul was concerned that the recipient of his letter might be enticed by purveyors Empty words to reject Christ shaped perspective on life, especially when it comes to sexuality and greed. We have not boarded I’m such empty words today in multiple ways, the empty wordsmiths of our world convince us that life is best when filled with sexual exploits and lots of possessions. We can begin to be persuaded that Christian morality is outdated, irrelevant, and oppressive. Thus Paul’s injunction to the Ephesians deserve a new hearing today. Let no one deceive you with empty words. Listen for the truth of words. Seek their substance. Pay attention to those who lives reflect the solidness of their words. Let the words you speak by full of meaning and love.
Something To Think About:
When you think of “empty words,” what comes to mind?
Do you find yourself tempted to accept the counsel of those who use “empty words?” When? Why?
How substantial are your words? Are they full of truth and love?
Something To Do:
As you go about your day, pay attention to your words. Are they substantial? Are they truthful? Are they loving? Are they really worth saying… and hearing? Choose today to use words that are full of truth and love.