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Empty Words

Ephesians 5:6
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (NIVUK)

Words can be cheap, but you usually get what you pay for.  The value of a word is its ability to convey an idea that will affirm, change or deny a relationship, business deal or professional opinion.  The old business saying, "My word is my bond" ("dictum meum pactum" in Latin) became the motto of the London Stock Exchange in 1801.  It was a style of trading that relied only on the word of the trader, without any exchange of documents.  However, this century has seen dishonest dealing, worldwide, on a massive scale; showing some brokers' words to be empty and of no value at all.  If words do not convey transparent truth, they will be the trading currency of lies, manipulation and mistrust.

Empty words do not present truth; they are a mask for selfish convenience.  They do not belong to the Kingdom of Heaven.  Although they may ooze confidence and the promise of a good adventure or a big profit, they can never live up to the expectations they project.  The promise in the words will always be broken.  Empty words are a brochure of deception to lure the unwary.  This is not just sharp business practice; it has the fire-impregnated stench of hell about it.  All empty words, or 'lies' as we call them, are encouraged by Satan; they are the trade-marks of his demons who use them to seduce those who deny the rule of Christ in their lives (John 8:44).

The concept of God's wrath is difficult for some to understand.  It cuts against the current Western idea of 'tolerance' in which there are no penalties for ignoring God.  This wrong understanding of the Christ-like virtues of forbearance and longsuffering, gives people permission to flout God's Word, rebel against His commands and despise His love by worshipping idols.  Although God is patient, restraining His anger because He is giving us time to repent (Romans 2:4), it does not mean that He accepts sin.  Far from it.  There are already some evidences of His wrath as He allows the effects of wrong human decisions to be felt in society (Romans 1:18), but the full impact will be experienced by unrepentant people when Jesus comes again (Revelation 19:15).  But the Lord has something much better for us who are following Jesus – forgiveness and eternal salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11).

Needless to say, God does not deal in empty words.  Jesus' words to religious people, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers" (Matthew 7:23), are full of meaning and will unleash God's wrath on those who fail to obey His 'truth-filled words'.  Empty words are cunning substitutes that have a built-in trap to ensnare the spiritually gullible, and drag them down to the same fate as Satan himself.  Clearly, the counter offensive is to obey the Word of God.  This devotional may even save your integrity today, if you take note and do something about it.  That is why we cannot just be Sunday Christians; we must put the Word into practice at work, or face the consequences that come to people who trade in empty words.

Father God. Thank You for this reminder that my word must be my bond, because Your Word always is. Forgive me for using words which are not transparently truthful. Help me to practise integrity by obeying Your Word, so that my colleagues and competitors may come to rely on mine, and that I will not be ashamed before You, nor lead others astray. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams