In the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul tells us a great deal about who we are in Christ. He begins chapter 4 by saying, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”
Because of everything Christ has done for you, I’m begging you walk worthy of that calling.
In the next three chapters he gives us a snapshot at what a believer’s life should look like when we are under the control of the Holy Spirit and living out that calling.
Isaiah 59 & 60
Snapshot of a Spirit Controlled Life
Not Wine, but the Spirit
For the last two days we’ve been talking about what a mature or Spirit-controlled life should look like from Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 4-6. Today we’ll look at the second half of chapter 5 beginning in verse 17.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.
As believers we should not allow anything other than God to control our lives—not a substance like alcohol or drugs, nor anything else that our hearts crave like power, wealth or prestige. Instead we should be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
One major way we should be changed, when we do, is in the way we communicate.
We’re to speak “to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (v. 19).
Paul isn’t suggesting we behave like a character in The Sound of Music by bursting into a song in the middle of a conversation, but there should be joy in our lives and our conversations should be filled with praise for all that God has done for us.
We should have an attitude of gratitude, “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 20).
It should affect our relationships toward each other, “submitting to one another in the fear of God” (v. 21).
Submitting isn’t just for those under one kind of authority or another. The Holy Spirit’s work in us enables us to submit our selfish wants and desires and prefer others above ourselves.
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it (Lk. 9).
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil. 2).
Within the husband and wife relationship, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (vss. 22, 25).
Wives are called to submit to the leadership of their husbands and husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives, each in unique ways. This is a sacrificial love that involves laying down what we want (those selfish desires, Matt. 9.23-24), preferring each other as more important than ourselves (Phil. 2.3-4), submitting even when the other one isn’t doing his or her part (1 Pet. 3.1-6), giving honor (1 Pet. 3.7), and showing respect (Eph. 5.33).
We’ll continue tomorrow with more of Paul’s snapshot of a Spirit controlled life.
Today’s Other Readings:
Isaiah 59 & 60:
Headlines: Our Courts Oppose the Righteous!
Wow! As I reread today’s passage, it occurred to me the phrases could be headlines in today’s newspapers!
Headlines like: “Our courts oppose the righteous,” “Justice is nowhere to be found,” “Truth stumbles in the streets,” “Honesty has been outlawed,” “Truth is gone,” and “Anyone who renounces evil is attacked” Look at chapter 59.13-15 in the NLT:
13 We know we have rebelled and have denied the LORD.
We have turned our backs on our God.
We know how unfair and oppressive we have been,
carefully planning our deceitful lies.
14 Our courts oppose the righteous,
and justice is nowhere to be found.
Truth stumbles in the streets,
and honesty has been outlawed.
15 Yes, truth is gone,
and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.
Verse 13 reminds us that all sin is first against the Lord. Notice it says, “We have turned our backs on our God.” When we deny and turn our backs on the Lord we are expressing contempt for Him, in effect, saying that we are dissatisfied with His blessings, that He is not good, that we want and deserve something better than what He has given us.
This passage says we sin willingly, knowingly, “We know we have rebelled … we know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies.”
And when the believers in a nation begin to compromise and live like the rest of the world, all of society suffers. Look at the list in verses 14 & 15 again: Continue reading