Lessons from Ephesians

 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12

Seasons pass, where reading the Bible and listening to sermons becomes a chore. During those times, I hear an exasperated voice say within, I've heard this so many times already, what can I possibly learn from hearing it again? Yet, seasons come when it's fascinating to study God's words, even if we are going through the same handful of chapters, for months and months. During these times, it's a delight to discover the depth of God's word, and amazing to hear each day, a living truth that we would do well to take to heart.

Some lessons and ponderings from Ephesians, mostly from this week's studies.

1. Knowing Christ

"You, however, did not come to know Christ that way." - Eph 4:20

What does it mean, to know Christ? What did it mean earlier in the letter, when Paul prayed for the Ephesian church (who were obviously Christians already) to know God better?

It's more than hearing, or even believing, that he exists. One of our speakers put it as, the difference between knowing about someone, and actually knowing them, personally.

2. Deceitful desires

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires..." - Eph 4:22

Deceitful because, it can be an innocent desire itself, but become corrupt as it overshadows or distracts our focus on God. Deceitful because, sometimes even we have difficulty seeing the layers of good and pious reasons we give for something that is essentially self serving.

Apparently there is a hymn, "prayer is the soul's sincere desire". And the challenging question is, what do you pray for in your quiet moments before God?

3. New attitudes

"to be made new in the attitude of your minds..." - Eph 4:23

For myself, it's interesting to see that in very real ways, knowing God has brought me new attitudes and desires that are quite distinct from my original self.

Also, I liked the study guide question - what are you doing to renew your mind in Christ?

4. Holiness is not a mystical state

"and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" - Eph 3:23

Holiness is more than something that just happens where we become crowned with a halo, wear white robes, stand with a calm but solemn expression, and have sun rays shining upon us! Living out holiness involves taking off our old self, and putting on our new selves, which requires practical actions, and our active participation.

5. Consider needs of others

"and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us..." - Eph 5:2

All the practical examples Paul gave from 4:25 to 5:4 in regards to living out holiness, can be summarised by living a life of love which puts others before ourselves - for example, practicing unity in the church by being slow to anger and forgiving one another. Or, building others with the words we say. Godliness isn't practiced in isolation.

6. Being very careful

"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise..." - Eph 5:15

This is my last point because I can read the passages every day, listen to the sermons every week, and discuss it in Bible study twice a week. But, every day, I want to pursue my own desires without stopping to evaluate whether that is in line with what God desires. Every day, out of boredom, jest, spite, carelessness or, in particular, in anger, I speak (or write, ha) words which neither build up nor benefit those who listen.

Beware, be intentional, because it doesn't come easily or naturally to live wisely. Thank God, for being gracious towards us.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. - Eph 2:4-5



Design in CSS by TemplateWorld and sponsored by SmashingMagazine
Blogger Template created by Deluxe Templates