“Ephesians deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice—regardless of any particular problem in the community.” ~Pastor Chuck Swindell
This succinct description of the book of Ephesians is a beautiful introduction to what I am about to share. Certainly, we are living in a time of problems. Sadly, these problems are infringing upon our ability to live in a way that displays our faith in a positive light.
Voices and opinions have gotten too loud, so loud I have felt a bit silenced, confused, tossed by the waves of constantly changing information on a pandemic, justice being fused with political movements that I don’t agree with, politicians that are supposed to protect religious freedoms but deny God with their deeds. Not just a country divided but neighborhoods fractured by the assertion of opinions rather than humility, gentleness, patience. Social media is painted with memes that say I am listening one day and then filled with shouts of disapproval and belittling people that don’t agree the next. I would say our daily environment is nothing less than hostile.
I’d like to blame this on the news, blame it on the politicians, blame it on hooligans and vagabonds and those who deny God. The truth is that the Church, as in believers not a building, are contributing to the chaos just the same. When I say the Church it includes me…so here I sit with a finger pointing at myself asking what my role in all this is. Maybe you are doing the same.
Friends, our role hasn’t changed. Perhaps that will put your mind at ease. In a world ever changing and conflicted your heavenly calling doesn’t waver. Read the following words of Paul as he wrote from a jail cell.
As a prisoner in the Lord, then, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, and with diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
If anyone had the right to feel discouraged it was Paul. He was following God whole heartedly and nothing seemed to pan out right, beatings, whippings, jailing, boat wrecks. However, when most people would be at the end of their rope, Paul puts pen to parchment and implores fellow believers to live according to their heavenly calling. Be humble, be gentle, have patience with one another, bear (carry, support, hold up) with one another in love and diligence. Why? To preserve unity and peace. We could all use a good dose of that!
As I look at the finger I have pointed toward myself I ask, what am I doing to preserve unity and peace? In turn, I ask you. Could we refrain from accusing and verbally abusing those that don’t agree with us? Could we keep scrolling when we really want to type out a snide rebuttal on social media. Friends, when I am triggered to comment in a negative way or prove my point on a social post, I snooze that person for 30 days. It removes the temptation to respond in an ungodly way and protects the integrity of my Christian walk. Could we offer words of kindness instead of our opinions? Even better could we build each other up in God’s word?
Paul doesn’t just compel us in Ephesians to behave a certain way so we can label ourselves good Christians, remember he is a proponent of humility. He tells us how it will benefit us when we abide in God’s ways and recall who we are in Christ. When we spend time pursuing our Christian walk though scripture and prayer and walking out what we learn, there are benefits. Paul shares in Ephesian 4:14-15:
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head.”
I have a confession…I have been down, weighted with the noise of opinions and uncertainty. This always weighs heavily on me because I feel as a Bible teacher I shouldn’t get down, but God is revealing something to me. Paul was certainly not happy in jail as he wrote this letter. He wasn’t cheerful and ambivalent to what was going on in the world about him. He was one thing, content to be doing the work that God had called him to do despite his surroundings.
Paul was not controlled by his emotions and he had learned to put his opinions aside and replace them with the word of God. He spoke truth in love. Not Paul’s truth, not the politician’s truth, not the jailer’s truth, not the persecutors truth, GOD’S TRUTH IN LOVE. Paul wasn’t deceived or tossed by the waves of life, he didn’t rely on clever men, or fall for deceitful schemes, instead he grew up in Christ and helped others do the same.
Ya’ll got me preaching now. Go read your Bibles.
I'm just a girl, standing before my God, knowing that He loves me and wanting others to know that love too.