Today is Day 39 of our Devotional series and this quiet time is based on a Midweek lesson done by our Youth & Family Minister La Micia Genova on Ephesians chapter 4.
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Remember, Mature, Forgive
La Micia Genova
Read Ephesians 4:1-6
Paul starts off by talking about the fact he is in prison, he is in isolation. In Paul’s isolation he is urging the church to seek unity through a bond of peace. Peace bring unity, but we must actively seek it.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Paul is reminding us we are one so the whole can be successful. We all play a role and unity is essential if we are to make it.
“Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is Success”
It takes work to be unified. Coming to Christ is the beginning, staying together is a fight and shows progress, but if we want to be successful we have to work together. For us to spread the gospel we have to work together.
Q: Do you feel like you are part of a team? Why or why not?
Q: What keeps us from being unified?
Read Ephesians 4:7-16
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
God has given all of us gifts and roles within His body. He wants us to come together with our gifts. We can do more with our gifts when we are together.
Q: What do you feel like is your role during this time?
Reaching unity takes time, but we have to keep striving for it until we reach it. The body of Christ (the Church) must continue to grow and mature.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
I think about my 1 year old son. At such a young age, he is so vulnerable and as the adult, the mature one with more knowledge, I have to train him and teach him the way he should go. I know as my son gets older he will go out there and people will try to convince him to do so many different things. If he doesn’t have the solid truth as a foundation he will be blown back and forth.
Q: Is there any area where you are being influenced right now other than God?
We all want to mature in our faith, don’t we?! When we don’t have a foundation based on truth, we will be tossed back and forth by the many different teaching that are out there and it will stunt our growth. By the time we realized we have been deceived we would have lost valuable time we could have spent maturing.
One of the ways we can prevent this from happening is being unified as the body of Christ. We can build each other up this way as we talk to each other about God and to speak the truth in love to each other. We can help ensure that we don’t miss the way.
Read Ephesians 4:17-24
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
Paul is letting the Gentiles know that their identity is now in Christ. Paul is calling them to not forget where they have come from. We as people can be so forgetful yet it is so important not to forget where God has brought us from.
11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
It is important we don’t forget how God has rescued us from the slavery we were in before knowing Him. When we forget, we can become proud and think that we did it, that we brought ourselves up out of the mess we were in when in fact, it was always God. Paul encourages us to remember lest our hearts become proud.
Before I became a Christian I had so much pain and hurt in my life. I had to sear my conscience in order to act the way I was acting. I wasn’t someone I would want to be around. It is painful at time to recall the person I was, but helps me because I can see where God has brought me to now. I don’t deserve to be where I am now and remembering who I was and where I am now, motivates me to never go back. When we confess, it helps us to remember that we are where we are because of Gods grace.
Read Ephesians 4:25-32
When we get angry, speak falsely, steal, become bitter, slander, or have malice we hurt ourselves and we hurt the message of the gospel.
Q: Are you struggling with any of these right now? Which one?
God wants us to be compassionate, forgiving, kind.
Right now in quarantine living this way has been hard. My patience and kindness haven’t been as easy to come by during this time. I have realized more than ever that I need to clothe myself with righteousness.
We can take some moments right now to make sure we are here for each other. We can seek to not tear each other down, but build each other up. Lets move on from hurts, letting things go and forgive.
Things are already hard enough, don’t make it harder for yourself by holding onto things.
Paul ends with calling us to forgive. The motivation he says for this forgiveness is the fact that Jesus forgave us. Forgiveness brings us back into oneness. This is ultimately what God wants for us. God wants us to be one and forgiveness is necessary for us to be one body and give glory to God.
We can’t forget how we became Christians! It was through forgiveness and we can go an extend that to others.