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Stop It



Therefore do not be partners with them.


Ephesians 5:7


How many times do we say “Stop it” during the day? If you Google it, you’d find almost 18 Billion references to it. Bob Newhart’s famous comedy routine about “Stop it[1]” is a classic.


My dad was a brilliant “Stop it” guy. I don’t know if he was taught it in boot camp during World War II, or it was handed down from father to son when he was growing up. But two of his favorite words to me were “Stop it.” He used them frequently, and with great gusto.


My mom was also quick to say “Stop it” throughout the day. For some reason, she was more likely to say “Stop it” when we went to a department store. I have vivid memories being with her in the women’s department, and all these undergarments were hanging down, hitting me on the head. This seemed to ignite a “Stop it” from her.


I don’t know what was wrong with my parents. Why would they say “Stop it” to me so many times? And with such enthusiasm? It must have been something in them that made them say “Stop it” so often. It must have been a psychological problem within them. Their upbringing. Some deep, emotional hurt. Or perhaps they had some kind of defect in their DNA that caused them to repeatedly say “Stop it.”


After all, I was this really cute kid with curly red hair. I was the second son. The good son. I was an angel sent from God to bless their lives with happiness and joy. Yea, right.


Paul also tells the Ephesian church to “Stop it.” But his “Stop it” was different than my parents “Stop it.” They weren’t to just stop being a pain, they were to stop being partners. They weren’t to just stop hanging around people that were being disloyal to Jesus, they were to stop being disobedient to God himself.


They had moved from watching and listening to doing. They had left the sidelines and were now in the game of defying God. They were no longer witnesses; they were accomplices. They were joining these people in their rebellion against God.


Paul doesn’t say that they are to look at their options and perhaps choose something else if they feel like it. This wasn’t a multiple-choice question on some optional, unimportant issue. This wasn’t even a minor part of life that people could disagree on.


This “Stop it” was said with force. It was said with lots of energy. It was an order. A command. This is an important part of their life with Jesus that they had made a decision to go against him. This wasn’t passively ignoring God, this was actively choosing to disobey.


They’ve been partnering with these people for a while. They were doing it now. The order is to stop doing it now. No delay. They were to make this a priority in their life; “Stop it” immediately and never do it again. Period.


I can’t speak for you, but there have been times in my life where God has said “Stop it.” It might have been through his word, a Christian friend, or just someone on the street. I knew it in my head and felt it in my heart. The message was clear, there was no mistaking it. There was no question what I was to do.


And then came the tough part – doing it. Obeying God. Setting aside my wants, my desires, my choices. It was more than to just stop doing something. I was to stop doing what I wanted and to start doing what God wanted.


God never just says “Stop it” without a “Start it.” To just say “Stop it” would leave a hole where something worse might come in[2].


Yes, obeying God does have benefits, but that shouldn’t be the reason we stop something. Our motivation should be to please the one that died for us[3]. The one who’s making a place in heaven for us[4]. The one who loves us as much as God the Father loves Jesus[5].


because we keep his commands and do what pleases him


1 John 3:22b


Once we see who God is, his greatness, how much he loves us, how he has saved us, there will be nothing that we won’t be willing to do to please him. Once we get ahold of how he gave himself for us, we’ll willingly give him anything and everything.


We’ll eagerly jump when he says “Stop it” because of who God is and what he’s done. Are you ready to “Stop it?”


Noodling Questions


  • Where has God recently said “Stop it” to you?

  • How do you normally react to being told to stop something?

  • Explain your different reaction when “Stop it” is followed by “Start it”.

[1] https://youtu.be/4BjKS1-vjPs?t=120 [2] Matthew 12:43-45 [3] Romans 5:8 [4] John 14:3 [5] John 17:23

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