WEEK THREE, DAY FIVE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK THREE THEME: COMMUNITY
DAY FIVE THEME: MIGHTY WORKS
SCRIPTURE: EPHESIANS 3:14 – 4:6
“This is why I kneel before the Father.
Every ethnic group in heaven or on earth is recognized by him. I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all belivers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fulness of God.
Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, fovever and always. Amen.
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.
You are one body and one spirit just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all who is over all, through all, and in all.”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: Kneeling is being in a state of humility, genuflecting in worship and respect of one another. In this case, Paul is expressing his great faith in God as he explains why he kneels and as he prays for all of Christianity everywhere and forever more.
Paul is confident that as Christians stay in touch with their reasons for being a believer in God and allowing God to indwell them, great and powerful things will happen in relationships everywhere. By this time, Christianity has spread far and wide and the ability to stay fresh and focused is beginning to be threatened by the conflicts of humanity. Without God’s continual, uninterrupted influence in our lives our day to day living becomes cloudy and distracted. The effort to pray without ceasing is ever and ever more important to keep at bay all intereferences to the harmony of the Holy Spirit.
As God’s Spirit indwells us, we are able to be patient, humble and gentle with ourselves and with others. Our differences do not lead to separation, rather, they compliment our unity. Christ is not divided! Therefore, Christianity cannot be divided! Paul prays for Christ to live in our hearts through faith allowing us to grasp the “width and length, height and depth” of love – together with all believers.
Our humanity builds walls and puts up fences to seperate, but God’s love is expansive and deep. When we shut out others for any reason we are seperating God, but God cannot be seperated. Rather than this influence of our humanity, Paul prays that we will “know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that we will be filled entirely with the fulness of God.” As we live as Paul suggests, we will see God work in unimagineable ways. As we are more and more in love and dependent on our Father, He is freed from our stubborn free will, and more and more able to be Himself – GOD OF THE UNIVERSE – and it will blow our minds!
The humanity battle is always being challenged by our own reasoning. We make decisions about good and evil based on things we hear and things that are personally offensive to us. We will tell ourselves not to pass judgment on others because we are Christians and that is God’s job. But the next things we know our mouths are being accusatory towards the “thems” out there who do no live as we live. We take on the role of “judge” over all. We feel that we are Christian and we certainly, therefore, are living right. Because of this thinking, we know that those not living like we do are most definitely in need of saving from their evil ways. We seperate ourselves by our own righteousness assuming that God must be the one having us feel this way rather than our own sense of entitlement.
I think at that very point God has to release us once again – just like with Adam and Eve who used their own reasoning – until we are able to submit and kneel once again to our Father, accepting His ways over our own. When we align with God, we see the ways He is always at work and is always working for the good for all. But when we can’t get beyond an issues with another, we are blind to any other ideas on that subject. Our humanity locks in and we lose our unity with Christ.
Paul calls himself a “prisoner for the Lord”. He has put himself and his thoughts and feelings about “things” aside for Christ’s thoughts and feelings. In this state of submission, Paul encourages us to live worthy of the call of God; conduct ourselves with humility, gentleness and patience; accept each other with love; preserve unity of the Spirit with peace. Through Christ, we are one body and one spirit called in one hope.
Paul’s final statement here bears repeating for it sums up his prayer for himself and all who call themselves Christian: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all who is over all, through all, and in all.” We, though individual, are only a part of a much more expansive whole than we can imagine. May we take our part seriously and humbly and remain rooted for the fruitfulness of the whole! Let It Be So!!!