When we think of the life of Jesus most of what we talk about or read in the Bible is about the things that He did. He healed the sick – that’s wonderful. He was an amazing teacher – that’s inspiring. He was a strong leader – that’s encouraging.
Everything Jesus did was essential to our lives as Christians. But there is a certain aspect of Jesus life that doesn’t get the attention that perhaps is should.
I don’t recall ever hearing someone ask, “What didn’t Jesus do?” Or, “What things did Jesus avoid?” Both are legitimate questions.
We have heard from an early age that there are two types of sins, sins of commission (doing something we shouldn’t) and sins of omission (not doing something we should).
When I was a teenager, I was unbelievably bad at keeping my room clean. I knew I should. My mom drove it into my head from an early age. But the older I got, the less appealing it became to me.
It developed into a real point of contention between my mom and me when I was about 14 or 15. During the summer between my freshman year at Sarah Scott Junior High and my sophomore year at Terre Haute South Vigo High School in Terre Haute, Indiana it got to the point that she threw in the towel. She simply closed my bedroom door, went out to Spencer Gifts and bought a cardboard sign that said, “Enter at Your Own Risk,” (It also had a hazardous materials emblem or a skull and cross bones on it for emphasis) and she hung it on my bedroom door.
There are two points to this story. First, I should have obeyed my mother’s wishes and kept my room clean. It wouldn’t have taken much, and I could have gotten by with extraordinarily little considering the mess it eventually became.
The other point is, I felt bad about it. I not only knew I should have obeyed her, but I was also convicted in my heart. To make matters worse my friends made fun of me and teased me about how messy I was. That didn’t play well on the psyche of a fifteen-year-old Midwestern boy in the mid-1970s (this sounds like the beginnings of a song by John Mellencamp).
Sins of omission are usually things that are clearly evident. They represent things like good manners, or saying your prayers. No one really knows you’re not doing them until you demonstrate it with negative behavior.
Not cleaning my room was a sin of omission that everyone could see!
The Bible (and our parents) has many suggestions concerning sins of omission, but we tend to gloss over them as a general rule. That may be more harmful than we realize.
We have all heard Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (NKJV)
But how many of you can recite verse 27? Not so easy is it?
Ephesians 4:27 “nor give place to the devil.” (NKJV)
Many times, ministers, parents, and even teachers and other influential adults in our lives have told us not to go to bed angry, but I don’t recall hearing those same adults tell me not to give place to the devil.
That may be because of the setting or that it might open a can of worms that some were hesitant to open. Well, I just opened it!
There is another phrase in this passage that seems to be closely related to, “nor give place to the devil.”
Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (NKJV)
There’s another phrase we don’t hear very often, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” There are probably not very many people around who would even use the word ‘grieve’ in that context. It is usually referenced in conjunction to a funeral service.
For the purposes of this blog, I want to look at two things Jesus didn’t do.
It might impact the Christian bracelet trade if I were to make one with the initials, W.W.J.N.D. (What Would Jesus Not Do). But we have to realize that there are things that Jesus refrained from as well as things Jesus did.
I believe I can comfortably assert that Jesus never gave place to the devil, nor did He grieve the Holy Spirit. That’s not a catchy thing to say. But what does grieve the Holy Spirit? What gives place to the devil?
The safe answer is sin. But let’s take a closer look at Ephesians 4.
Ephesians 4: 25Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (NKJV)
There are several things we are told not to do. We are not to let sin accompany our anger, and if we are angry, get over it before you go to bed. Neither are we to steal or use bad language.
Evidently, we should get rid of wrath (rage) in our lives, clamor (quarreling and unnecessary talk) and malice (spite and ill will).
If you were to take a look at the margins of my Bible in this section of scripture I have the list of sins highlighted and an arrow drawn from that list to the phrase, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,” (actually mine says, “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,”) and next to the arrow I wrote, “these must be the things that grieve the Holy Spirit.
I could add to that, “These must be the things that give the devil a foothold.”
Two things Jesus never did, grieve the Holy Spirit, or give the devil a foothold.
If you recall last week, I suggested encircling the things of the Spirit (Jim class Period 5) and getting to the point where we are there so much it is obvious to everyone.
Maybe, rather than hanging a sign on the door of our life that says, “Enter at Your Own Risk,” we could eliminate those things by spending more time in the ‘field.’
I heard a wise minister say one time, “If we spend our time doing the do’s, we won’t have time to do the don’ts!”