Ephesians 5 continues with more detail about how to become more like Jesus Christ. For several verses we read what not to do. Then at the end of verse 8 we see a shift. Instead of talking about how dark life is without Christlikeness, the Bible tells us to “Walk as children of light.” We also read where the light is found – “in all that is good and right and true, and to try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” The only way we can know that is to go to the source of truth – the Bible.
Light, truth and discernment all go together. We can’t have any of those without the others. I find this a worthwhile pursuit.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to seek the truth and to be light to others. Give us the discernment that is pleasing to You. Thank You for providing truth through Your Word.
Ephesians tells us to “be imitators of God”. I don’t know any other way to imitate God than to study Who He is through His Word (the Bible). The sentence continues in verse 2 which tells us to “walk in love”. The word love in verse two is the same as the word beloved in verse one. Beloved children should be giving the same love we have received.
I think we get confused about what love really is. Jesus’ love caused Him to sit with “publicans and sinners”. His love also fiercely rebuked the Pharisees. God’s love must be truthful. The full extent of God’s love doesn’t fit in a full set of encyclopedias, let alone a short blog post. I recommend continued study of the Bible to learn more about God’s love.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and the examples we have in Your Word. Please help us to imitate You. Give us the desire to present ourselves as :a fragrant offering and sacrifice”.
As I continue to look at the idea of personal identity, I have to look at Ephesians 4:22-24. As I have mentioned before, I think we have the tendency to cling to a me-centered identity. The Bible tells us to put off the old self which has deceitful desires. I think we can struggle being honest about what we want in life. Too many times we allow selfishness to rule our thinking.
Verse 23 tells us to be renewed and then verse 24 talks about putting on the new self which is God-like righteousness. That is a pretty tall order. However, God gives us what we need throughout Scripture to work towards this goal.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving Your Word to guide us through life. Please help us to put off the old deceitful self and put on the new according to Your righteousness and holiness.
I pray this in Jesus’ name.
God is so good.
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)
Ephesians 3:20 can give us goosebumps as we think of all the happy things God can do. However, as I look at the context – one of spiritual growth and maturity – my mind goes down a different path. I believe the Christian life can bring much joy, but there is sorrow as well. The difficult things often bring about the most spiritual growth. So, what is the exceeding abundance? I believe 2 Corinthians 9:8 gives us the answer. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” God’s grace brings the abundance that He wants. Abundance for every good work.
I fear we come to verses like Ephesians 3:20 with selfish thoughts. Selfishness is often a part of our identity. We need to give our own desires to God and He will give us His grace for abundant good works.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundance You provide. Please help me to see the ways You want to change my identity from self-centeredness to grace filled good works. Please strengthen me for the tasks ahead. I give You praise for all You do.
Sadly, when I first see the words true love I end up thinking of “The Princess Bride”. The wedding scene when the bishop talks about true love is very quotable. While the idea of movie true love can be attractive, it is nothing in comparison to God’s love.
Today’s verses describe how vast God’s love is. It is too much for human knowledge. That being said, I want to pursue more and more knowledge of the love that can only be measured by an infinite God Who sent His only Son to suffer and pay the penalty for my sin. What wonderous love! I am in awe and amazement.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wondrous love. Please guide me in studying Your word and seeing Your actions so I can learn more about this love that surpasses knowledge.
Philippians 2:12-13 has a seeming contradiction. Verse 12 tells us to work out our own salvation, but verse 13 says that God is at work. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that our salvation is not of our own works so we won’t brag. James 2:14-26 tells us that works need to follow our faith in God. I think this passage combines those two concepts. There are works that I need to do to honor God.
I fear that we sometimes get too stuck on one side of that equation or the other. Either we look too much to ourselves to work or we assume too little responsibility. I like to think that God does the heavy lifting. He is responsible to provide what is needed for me to work out my salvation. He provided the way for my salvation. I need to obey what God tells me to do. I find that out from spending time in the Bible and time talking to God.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to see the difference between the work You have given me to do and what You promise to take care of. I want to live a life of appropriate responsibility, resting in what You will do.
When I was in high school, society pushed teens to ask, “Who am I?”. It was a big thing for us to “find ourselves”. I fear we are seeing the effects of too many years of wanting our own identity. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that those who trust in Jesus Christ are His workmanship. Our purpose is good works. Good works “which God prepared beforehand”. Reading and studying the Bible as well as praying will help us understand those good works.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making us Your workmanship. Please help us to seek what You desire for good works.
Those of us who have placed our trust in Jesus Christ have the best identity. I fear we keep clinging to the identity we want to have instead of seeing what identity Christ offers. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we have been saved by grace not by anything we have done. The reason is so we will not boast about works.
I think one of the hardest things we have to do is to let go of our personal identity. In the U.S. we are so individualistic that we encourage living our own way. Our wishes and desires get in the way of what God tells us. I am humbled by the reminder that I can’t do anything to earn my salvation. Hopefully this pushes me to seek Christlike identity by reading, studying and obeying God’s Word.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the humbling reminder in Your Word that we cannot earn salvation. Please help me to live this for Your honor and glory. I want to serve You more.