Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Travel Sequence - Ephesians 5 (part 2)

Click the banner to read Ephesians 5
The first three chapters of Ephesians laid a strong foundation for our position in Christ being of him and not of ourselves. Like adopted toddlers in a loving family, we are dearly loved and accepted and enjoyed by our new father. Nothing will take that away. No matter what we do, or who we become, we are loved, we are accepted, we are as good as righteous in his eyes, and nothing will break that ironclad contract. We sit with great confidence in the house of God, among our new family. However, like those new toddlers, we may carry baggage from the institutions and orphanages from which we came. The behaviours we learned while in the system will not harmonize with life in our new family with our new Father. This does not change our position in the family, or the love the Father gives. We are dearly loved children. Now that we have sat in the house of love, we must walk in that same love.

This adoption goes further than just a legal reality. In this spiritual reality, we are given the nature, the life, the spiritual DNA of our new family. It is not only a legal name change that we experience (justification), but a change in our very being (sanctification). God is light and love, and we are now children of light and love. By faith, we walk now as children of God on Earth, shining and giving love wherever we go, and glorifying God in the world by how we love each other.

Christ is our example of this love. In this family, he is our older brother. He offered himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. This is how we now live life in love together. Our love for each other puts the other first, denying even our own life for the sake of our brothers and sisters. And we do so not in our own strength, or for our own glory, or even for the benefit of our brother or sister alone. Though we are all deeply affected and moved by the love we receive from each other, it is God who is most pleased as he receives it as a fragrant offering and sacrifice. In this we are loving one another by faith through Christ, and for God. In the covenant community, we become Christ to one another as we receive and give the same sacrificial love that he gave to us.

In such a community we learn quickly what pleases God, and it quickly becomes our nature to want to do so. This Christ-life of sacrifice and humility is a life of submission one to another. Christ submitted himself to God the Father, even to death. As he did, he considered us even more important than himself, which is our example. We each submit one to another out of reverence for Christ.

Every relationship that we have on this Earth is one where we may reflect the character and nature of God. In family especially, those with whom we experience most of our life, we have a great opportunity to preach to each other the great story of Christ's redemptive work, and God the Father's adoption of us. In his life and death and resurrection, Jesus is the most loving husband, faithful brother, and humbly submitted and obedient son. As husbands, wives, and parents, we are each to reflect that same submission, faithfulness, and love in our lives together. We tell the story of Jesus to one another every day.

I'm a fairly independent person by nature. I like to have control over my own life, make my own decisions, and do things my way.

When it comes to community life, I'm the guy most likely to try to get my way by just being the biggest and loudest and most obnoxious. I don't actually intentionally think this way, I just know my own tendencies.

For me, submission to others in community means letting them do it their way. Though my tendency would be to try to control my environment by making sure everything is done threat I like it and when I like it, if everyone were to actually do that, there would be no diversity in the community. In truth there would be no community at all.

So, I submit to the fact that there are different roles, gifts, and worldviews in community. I give up my need to do everything myself. When others take responsibility for things, I give up the need to control them. I will allow others to do things their way. I will even allow myself to learn and grow through their unique contributions.
Click the image to read the entire series from Ephesians

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