Chapter FIVE & six
Week of July 25-31
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Long before text messages and emails, my dad wrote me hundreds of handwritten letters after he and my mom divorced and we moved to Arizona. As a child I didn’t truly appreciate his letters, but now I treasure them. My father’s love and care jumped off the pages as they bridged the miles between us.
Paul’s letter to the young church at Ephesus is similar. As their spiritual father, they were on his heart. Paul was a prisoner in Rome and knew he would not see them again, so he wrote them a letter to strengthen their faith in the midst of a challenging culture.
And while my heart is sad Paul never saw them again, I’m so thankful for his letter.
As we reached Ephesians 5:21- 6:9 this week, I’ve been a little apprehensive about writing this UNTIL the Holy Spirit gently reminded me to step back and view these verses through the lens of the whole letter.
God designed believers to thrive in relationships for His glory so that the world would be drawn to Him. But most of us would probably say relationships are hard and messy. Paul knew a key to thriving in relationship was walking in their new identity in Christ. He longed for these young believers to see the church as the Bride of Christ – a Bride so precious that Jesus gave up His life for her.
Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love amazes me.
In my humanity, I don’t naturally give of myself or lay down my rights. So when Paul says in Ephesians 5:1-2 to be imitators of God and live a life of love, I know that isn’t something I can do in my own strength. And when he goes on to say in verse 21 to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, I’m reminded I need the Holy Spirit’s help.
Jesus is fully God, yet He submitted to the Father’s will and laid down His power to love and serve the Bride. I’m learning to stand in awe and reverence of Jesus and learning to yield to the Holy Spirit as He helps me to live and speak in ways that glorify God and bring harmony in my relationships. Do I do this perfectly? No, but that is the precious gift of grace.
Most of us have many roles in life. I’m a wife, a mom, a daughter and an employee – but first and foremost I am a daughter of the Most High God. I am a member of God’s church and the Bride of Christ. And when I remind myself that my value doesn’t come from my human roles or positions, but from who I am in Christ, then I can give of myself for the good of others and the glory of God as I surrender my will to the Father.
S P I R I T U A L H A B I T
This week we are continuing to practice soaking in scripture. Make time each day to read Chapter 4 of Ephesians – ask the Holy Spirit to provide guidance and allow you to see the ways God is speaking to you.