Tag Archives: identity

He who loves his wife loves himself

Ephesians 5:28-30 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body.

Husbands don’t get off very easily in the Bible. Many assume that the calling of a wife to submit to her husband is a heavy burden, but in reality the heaviest responsibility falls on the husband himself. He is ultimately accountable for the marriage relationship and the spiritual well-being of his family.

It should be noted that God’s Word repeatedly tells men to love their wives. This is a command, not just to act with loving emotion towards their brides, but to serve them, protect them, lead them, and provide for them. To love one’s wife is to love oneself.

Because it’s so powerful, the notion that marriage is intended to provide a picture of Jesus’ relationship to God’s family, the Church, is also repeated many times. Jesus loves the Church and so husbands should love their wives. He cares for and nurtures the Church and therefore husbands should care for and nurture their wives.

Husbands, love your wives.

A life lived for God is an honest life

Ephesians 4:28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

A new life that comes about after being transformed by God is a life that leaves behind many old things. Habits, hangups, crudeness, lying, stealing…the list goes on.

Some of us in our old lives were thieves, taking anything we could get our hands on just because we wanted it. God’s people don’t live that way, though. We understand that all things really belong to God, not to us. Ripping someone else off doesn’t just hurt them, it hurts our relationship with the Father. He didn’t create us to be thieves.

If there’s one thing that God is not about, it’s selfishness. A deceptive lifestyle that cheats others only benefits the cheater and it’s not what God intends for His people. He’s called us to care for other people, not just ourselves (Philippians 2:3). This means that in our work and in our choices, we should have others in mind. We should be seeking to benefit them so that God can be glorified (Matthew 5:16).

For one of His people to steal is for the world to view God as a thief.  Making an honest living is not just the right thing to do, it shows others how God’s people live and brings Him honor.

Family speaks the truth

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

One of the most loving things you can do for another person, especially one who is your brother or sister in Christ, is speak the truth to them. There are few actions or words that can even compare with just some refreshing truth.

We all know that being a liar is a hard job. When you lie to others you have to keep track of what you told to whom and it makes you worry about getting caught. But honesty, that brings freedom. Speaking the truth to people frees us and lets us know that there is nothing to hide.

It can be really hard sometimes to say what needs to be said, but when you know someone is believing lies it’s always best to let them know what’s real. The biggest liar of all, Satan, tries to lure people into believing that God doesn’t care, that He isn’t listening, or that He’s not good. But the truth is that God is love (1 John 4:8). God cares about His people (Romans 8:30). God is good (Nehemiah 9:31). God is listening (1 John 1:9).

When we know the truth, we’re free from the burdens that lies bring. We can be the burden-breaker for someone else by speaking the truth. It’s what family does.

A new heart means a new mind

Ephesians 4:23-24 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

When you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, you became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). A major transformation occurs when someone takes this step. Along with that transformation comes a new heart. With a new heart comes new desires. With new desires comes renewed thinking.

The thing about obedience to God is that it all begins with right thinking. If we have any hope of following Christ we can’t do it on our own.  We need His help to obey and we can only know what it is He wants us to do if we have been transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). We have to seek after the truth that’s only found in Him.

At some point in time the truth of God’s Word really penetrates your soul and you just know the truth for what it is. It becomes so clear that you can’t believe that you never embraced this truth before. This truth sets you free! (John 8:32) With a new heart and a new mind there’s a new life, one free from the burdens of this world and from the taskmasters of fear and shame.

A new mind is a clean slate to start over with. Instead of allowing your mind to be consumed by the things of this world, you have the opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to fill it with what is right and good and pure.

Have you learned about the real Jesus?

Ephesians 4:20-22 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

This fact of life should be revisited from time to time: Not everyone who teaches knows what they’re talking about. Likewise, not everyone who professes to speak for God truly speaks for Him.

The Apostle Paul uses and interesting phrase in this letter to the Ephesian church. He says “assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus.” The point he’s making is that he knows the Ephesians have learned better than to live like the pagans. But what about those in the church who have learned no better than to keep living in sin?

Some will come in the name of the Lord and yet contradict His Word. Some will claim to have heard from God himself and yet present a message that goes directly against His nature. Some will even mock God with their teaching and somehow still claim to be His representative. It’s our job to discern the truth from the garbage.

If anyone teaches a gospel that contradicts the Good News that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again from the grave and that His work on the cross was sufficient for salvation, then they’re not worth listening to. Paul warns elsewhere that even if an angel were to preach a false gospel it should be tossed out (Galatians 1:8).

So how do we know the truth from the false teaching? It’s important to start with getting acquainted with the Bible. In it God has revealed himself and His nature. The Bible is the truth tester. If something doesn’t stand up to agreement with it, then it’s false. If you seek the truth, you will find it.

Grace is a great gift

Ephesians 4:7-8 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

Of all the gifts given to us as children of God, there’s nothing more incredible than the gift of God himself. He extended to us, in the form of Jesus Christ, a relationship with Him. Nothing we could ask for could be as great as this.

Grace has been offered, though not all will reach out and receive it. But for those who do, the experience of reconciliation with God, of His mercy by not pouring out His wrath on us (which we deserved), and His grace that led Jesus to the cross in our place, cannot be matched by any other thing in this world.

If you’re the recipient of God’s grace, you know peace. You know what love really is, you have felt the release from bondage that once held you. You know how it feels to live under no condemnation and no more slavery to sin. If you’ve known God’s grace, you know eternal life and you know you’ll never die.

This wonderful gift came with a price. Jesus Christ willingly laid down His own life on that cross in your place and mine so that we might know the grace of God. According to His gift of His own life was God’s grace measured out. The abundance of grace shows the abundance of love that led Jesus to the cross. What an amazing gift.

One hope

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The Apostle Paul makes it a point to speak an awful lot about unity within the Church throughout his letter to the Ephesians. His efforts should not be overlooked. It’s obvious that unity is very important.

Many Christians think that they can live out the life of a Christ-follower apart from belonging to a church family, but in reality things were never designed to work that way. There is one body – and a body can’t fully function without all of its members. It was designed that way. There is one Spirit. We’re each indwelled by the Holy Spirit, but it’s not just for the purpose of solo living.

John Calvin once stated boldly that “those who separate themselves from their fellow believers estrange themselves from the kingdom of God.” He also said, “if we are not one body and one spirit, we are not fit for that inheritance.” This is strong wording, but it truly captures the nature of Paul’s letter and why he’s so adamant about talking to these people about unity. There is not Christianity, no Church, apart from that unity. Embrace your fellow Christians, flaws and all, because they’re your spiritual siblings and you need them as much as they need you.

In the bond of peace

Ephesians 4:3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

A reading of the New Testament will lead anyone to conclude that God is very concerned with unity among His people. Unity was even one of the main things that Jesus prayed for in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed for you and me. That being the case, we should also be concerned with unity within the church.

This unity doesn’t mean that we all agree on all things. Christians are going to end up with different interpretations of Scripture, with different doctrines and practices, and different conclusions about the non-essential elements of the faith. But if we maintain the unity of the Spirit, we maintain a bond as brothers and sisters.

What does it take to achieve this unity? First and foremost, it requires us to extend the same grace to others that we have received from the Father. That’s difficult on human terms, but only with humility, gentleness,  patience and forgiveness can true peace be present. We can disagree on things, but we must do it as a family, not as enemies.

Walk worthy of your calling

Ephesians 4:1-2 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

When you are one of God’s children, called to be part of His own family, you have a special opportunity. If you walk in a manner worthy of the calling you’re received, it can be a great testimony to others. This means living as someone who belongs to God’s family, as someone who is no longer bound by the Law, as someone who is free from condemnation.

It ought to be obvious when someone is a child of God. It should be reflected in the way you pray, the way you trust the Lord without worry, the way you treat others, the way you obey not as one who is trying to earn position but as one who already has it. A person who lives free from the bondage of the flesh is a unique thing indeed. It should be noticeable to people who still remain lost.

Jesus himself even said that the world would know His disciples by the love that we show one another (John 13:35). It’s important that we live with humility, gentleness, and patience as we continue in love with one another. To fulfill the two greatest commandments, loving God and loving people, is to walk in a manner worthy of your calling. So, can you do it? Can you walk that walk?

He can do more than you can ask for

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

How do your prayers sound? If they’re anything like the prayers of the average person, they’re pretty mundane and lacking any real power. Why is that? Could it be that many followers of Christ simply don’t believe that the Father is capable of answering big, bold prayers?

But He is. He’s got everything at His disposal. He lacks nothing. He’s able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask for or even think to ask for. There’s nothing He can’t do, and He works according to the power at work within  those of who who are His.

This isn’t some “name it and claim it” bit. Every material possession you’ve ever wanted isn’t promised to you if you would just ask for it. But the real deal is that anything you need in order to accomplish the will of God is available to you. Anything you can think to ask for and much, much more. Approach the Father as though He actually has the goods and the intention to give them. He does and He does.