Ephesians – Belief and Behavior
As in most of Paul’s letters we come to the middle where God’s Word to us shifts from declaring who we are in Christ (belief) to what we do in Christ (behavior). I love how God uses Paul to clarify exactly who we are and what we do. There is no reason, other than selfishness on our part, to wonder in confusion or wander around in the dark.
Read carefully and think of all the opposite things we selfishly do just to have our own way. Paul says to run on the less traveled road to disciplined lives. Pour yourselves into others in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. Yes, this is the opposite of what the world hounds us with every day in the media…as if we needed more help to be selfish!
Paul also reminds us that we are individuals with different gifts and purposes given by God. We are not all the same. We are Gods’ Masterpiece, one of a kind! We are not expected to be the same as someone else. But we are also One. Holy diversity, our individual contributions, should breed unity in the Body of Christ!
We were all created with an inner desire to love someone back and that someone is God. We are also born into a desire to please self. Hence the daily battle with self. Since sin and self (thinking we are God) separated us from God, he made a way through Jesus’ work on the Cross to deliver us from sin and self. Jesus taught us a different way to think and behave. He also taught us to come together with our diversity to become one in Him. “You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all.”
“EVERYTHING you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.”
“But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same.” Diversity, not division! In other words, we leave out the math equation of division and only use multiplication in God’s Kingdom thinking and behaving!
“God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything.”
This is such rich and wonderful information in this chapter alone that we will take it in two bites. This is part one….read and ponder. Believe and pray for help to behave like we say we believe.
Ephesians 4, The Message
To Be Mature
1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
7-13 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,
He climbed the high mountain,
He captured the enemy and seized the booty,
He handed it all out in gifts to the people.
Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
What do we learn?
–Plenty. We just need to do it with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us who is waiting to help. Tap into the Power of God’s Holy Spirit living in us.
–Think. What are the opposite activities of pleasing self? Do that.
–Refer to Philippians 2.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Your Word is full of wisdom and clarity for those who believe. Help us to behave in ways that build each other up, to love like you love, to walk the road less traveled. We need your help. So, we ask knowing we will receive help. We repent of self and the sin self desires. Forgive us. Keep us alert to living the opposite way of self. Transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen