335 - A Letter to the Ephesians (Part 2) – Living as a Child of God
December 1 - Nº 335 Ephesians 4:1 – 6:9
Paul had begun his first prison epistle by describing all the amazing benefits God offered to the believers in Ephesus (see #334 - November 30). Now he focused on how they needed to live to enjoy them. First, he re-emphasized God’s desire for the members of His family to live together in peace. To do this they needed to be humble and patient with each other. He reminded them that God had not given everyone the same gifts or talents or passions. God’s desire was for them to use whatever He had provided to build each other up and help each other out. Paul explained that this was only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Then he illustrated how God wanted the Ephesian believers to abandon their old, selfish ways of doing things—and choose to live peacefully with each other. He described it as “taking off” the old clothes they had once worn as orphans and “putting on” the new clothes the Holy Spirit provided for them as adopted children of the King. · They needed to “take off” lying and “put on” telling the truth. · They needed to stop being angry and learn to be kind. · They needed to quit hurting each other with their words and begin encouraging each other instead. · They needed to stay away from anything that led to sexual immorality and practice self-control. If they were willing to wear the clothing the Holy Spirit offered, they would not only look like God’s children on the outside, but their hearts would be filled with joy and thanksgiving on the inside. The key to living in peace with other believers, Paul explained, was for them to learn to treat others as more important than themselves. He described how this worked in three important relationships: their marriages, their families, and their jobs. · Paul instructed wives to support their husbands. They were to respect the role God had given them as spiritual leaders in the family. And husbands were to be servant-leaders. They were to love their wives sacrificially in the same way that Jesus loved the church. He had been willing to die to fulfill its greatest need! If husbands chose to love their wives in this way, their spouses would have no problem respecting them. This mutual submission was the key to a long and happy marriage. · Paul commanded children to obey and honor their parents. He instructed parents to intentionally raise their sons and daughters to love the Lord and know His Word. They were not to do things that would cause their children to become bitter or angry. · Slaves (workers) were to respect and obey their masters (bosses) by working hard. Paul explained that their ultimate goal should be to please God. And masters (bosses) were to be kind and treat those under their authority with respect. Their goal should be to please God—since He is the Master of everyone.
God intends for His children to live in unity. In doing this, Christians must never promote themselves or put others down. Paul mentions lying, anger, mean words, and sexual desires as some of the biggest hinderances to unity. Is there one of these in your life that God would like to remove? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you “take it off” so you can “put on” God’s righteousness instead.