Today is Day 38 of our Devotional series and this quiet time is based on a Midweek lesson done by Jeff Schachinger on Ephesians chapter 4.
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Ephesians 4 discusses three central concepts:
- Being Equipped
4 keys for getting there:
1. Live a Life Worthy of Your Calling
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Christianity is a lifestyle.
Q: If you were being charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Being humble and gentle are two markers of a Christian, those need to be some defining characteristics of a Christian.
Most early Christians had to learn these characteristics. Prior to Christ, humility and gentleness were viewed as a weakness. When Jesus came he changed the way we view these things.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Humility: We need to drop our guards a little bit more. If someone wants to share something with you, try to listen and not be overly reactive. Fight back when those walls begin to come up.
Gentleness: Power under control. You may have the right answers, direction, authority, and power. True strength is knowing what to say, when to say it, how to say it, and why to say it. Jesus was gentle, but no one would ever say he was weak.
Long suffering: “Long temper” – It takes us a long time to get mad. This should be a hallmark of a Christian. Even though we may be provoked not giving into our anger.
2. Be fully Equipped
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ?10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 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
We all bring something to the table. The Grace of God has impacted us all differently. Through our unity we can equip each other and that keeps us strong and faithful as we help others to become strong and faithful.
Q: How are you using your gifts (whatever they may be) to build up the church?
Q: How can you offer your gifts right now during this time?
Challenge: The best place for us all to step up right now is in our community groups.
- Call your community group leader and ask them what you can do to help and serve within that group.
- This is a time to dig in to our groups.
3. Be Always Maturing
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
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. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Growing and maturing together allows us to become more unified. It is totally up to you to grow and mature in your faith. No one else can do this. Maturity is something we are each personally responsible for. We must take it upon ourselves to continue to take steps forward.
Reflect: When was a time you had to put the effort into growing? (Job, sports, School)
It will take efforts for us to mature spiritually as well. For us to be unified as a church we each individually must be committed to growing individually. When we are sharp, open, real, connected God will help us see where we can grow.
Q: What specifically is something you feel you need to grow in?
- This takes work
- This take time
Don’t be discouraged if it is not a quick fix. Many thing’s aren’t.
Right now is a challenging time and it’s hard right now, but you know what is easy? Right now it is really easy to disappear. We can’t take the easy route.
4. Walk Daily
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 says this because he see’s many people begin to live this way. Paul takes this opportunity to pull them back. He reminds them that they were taught. Reminding them not to forget the message that they were taught.
Speak truthfully – We are all tempted to shade things and fudge the truth.
In anger do not sin – Anger is an emotion. It becomes sin when we respond poorly and lash out.
Resolve things quickly – This prevents that Satan from getting a foothold
Focus on daily integrity – Don’t steal anything. Don’t steal trust, respect, emotions. Don’t play with people. Be a man of your word.
Watch your words – Everyday you are alive be mindful of your words. Read James 3.
Matthew 12:36 –But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Bitterness, anger, rage, malice, brawling, slander – we have to put all this off and be kind, compassionate, and forgiving.
The blood of Christ will refresh us daily so we can do these daily with each other. Our faith is so important, but let’s make sure we are doing something with it in the way we live.