Ephesians Chapter 4 begins with an impassioned plea by Paul to the Ephesians to live a life worthy of being called a believer, one who in faith decides to follow Jesus.
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
Paul begins with ‘therefore’ as he wants his reader to remember all the points he has made so far in his letter about unity, love, the power of God and loving and serving each other. He sees himself as a slave or bond servant of Christ. Paul is totally committed to Christ and to them in love. He is willing to do what ever is need to tell other about Christ and the freedom available through faith in Him. Paul has experienced the transforming power of Christ in his life and sees the fruits of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is calling all those who follow Christ to step up and be followers in name and deed. Paul wants the Ephesians Christians to treat each other with love, patience, gentleness, humility, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, and walk and work together in unity. It is a tall order, but one that Paul knows they can live up to through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
What about you? Do you see yourself as one who serves others in humility with love and gentleness? When you are involved with other believers and unbelievers, do they see Christ in you? Lent is a time of reflection, a time to examine our lives, thoughts, deeds, motives and heart. Look at what Paul is asking through the lens of the cross. He is challenging you to be worthy believers, but not in your own power but through His. Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are indwelt, empowered and enabled to act and be more and more like Jesus as we grow in Him.
‘Be all that you can be!’ is a slogan made famous by the Army. However, it is our commander, Jesus, who empowers us to be all in Him. Endeavor to live that way today as you seek to relate to others in Jesus’ name being all He has made you to be!
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the Holy Spirit living within me. Scripture is filled with references to His indwelling Holy Spirit. We receive His Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus. It is His Holy Spirit within us that gives us hope, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are called the fruits of His Spirit living within us. When we see these character traits being manifested in our lives, we know He is at work within us.
Here are some assurances from God’s Word about this amazing Holy Spirit that lives within each believer: Ephesians 3:16 “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” His Spirit with gives us power for living! 2 Corinthians 1:22 “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” His Spirit is a seal and guarantee of our salvation in Jesus. Galatians 4:6 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” His Spirit declares our sonship and allows us to call God our Father or Daddy. 1 John 4:13 “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” His Spirit helps us to stay connected to Jesus. Romans 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” His Spirit gives us a His spirit to be with us forever.
Belief in Jesus and His work on the cross brings the Holy Spirit into our lives. Rejoice in that hope today and look for His indwelling work within you. He is there-alive and working in you! He gives us the power to resist sin, stay connected to the Father and guarantees results. His fruit is eternal and always for our good and His glory!
Suggestion: Today- look for His fruit in your life– peace where you might not have thought, patience where you usually would be impatient, joy where you did not expect it, a reaction to a situation with kindness, a deed unexpectedly done, a gentle touch or word to another, a trust in God that is unexpected but natural, showing self-restraint exactly when it is called for- any of these are the working of the Holy Spirit within you. Rejoice and give Glory to God.
Today’s blessing passage comes from Psalm 40. David leads up to verses 4 and 5 by describing the wonderful things God has done for him and can do for us. By the time we get to verse 4, we are ready to see how trusting the Lord can and does bring great blessing and to tell others of God’s greatness.
40 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry In life, David had learned to wait upon the Lord patiently even when it was hard. He experienced God’s hearing his pleas for help and His rescues personally as he waited 14 years to be king while running and hiding from Saul. Is God asking you to wait patiently today? 2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure. David had been rescued by God from Saul, the Philistines and from his own sinful mistakes multiple times, and he had experienced God’s restoration both physically and spiritually. Is this your story too?
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord. David praised God for keeping him and giving him a new song of praise to sing, and he is calling others to put their trust in his saving God. If you could name your new song from God, what would be the title?
4 Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie! Here David reaches the conclusion that one who trusts in God and not worldly things or advice is and will be truly blessed. Trusting God leads to wholeness in life.
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told. Lastly, David praises God for His grace, mercy, blessings and acts towards us. Even if we started now and praised all day long we could never tell of all the wonderful things God has done on our behalf. We are truly blessed by Almighty God and no one or nothing can compare to Him!
The first 5 verses of this Psalm are all about blessings David experienced first hand and so can we. God listens and desires that we wait patiently for His perfect timing. God will lift us out of hard circumstances in life and set us upon solid ground if we will place our trust in Him. He will give us a new song to sing as we walk with Him day by day. We will be blessed by trusting in Him and not looking elsewhere for our direction and guidance. God has given and will give us abundant blessings for walking in trust and faith.
What a wonderful recipe for success in life– patience in listening, trusting God to rescue and provide, singing His song, looking to Him for guidance and advice and telling about His goodness. Will you make this your intent today? Look for blessings if you do!