When I was growing up, I loved my Bible. But, at the same time, I really thought of it as a rule book of dos and don’ts. Thou shall and thou shall not my King James Thompson Chain Reference would scream at me. It would cause me to just ignore or bypass verses or even entire books of the Bible and concentrate on the good stuff like heaven, rewards, and my enemies getting what they really deserved. Then something changed, an evangelist challenged me to read Ephesians every day for a month and see what happened. It changed my life!
Chapter 5 was one of those areas I would usually skip but now read quite differently. The chapter opens by telling us of his love, that Christ loves me and gave himself for me. Paul calls it “A fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” He then immediately goes into a lengthy list of things that are not only sins against our Savior but harmful to our own well-being. He speaks of avoiding even crude joking or foolish talk while giving us an alternative, “Be Thankful!”
Seems like an unusual place to be thankful, in the midst of being told all of these things that offend God and the price that will be paid by those who do. So what are we to be thankful for? Maybe the best way to add perspective is to look at my own parent/child experience. I raised three girls and had many, many rules. What they were allowed to read, watch, curfew, choice of friends, appropriate clothes, the list goes on and on. So why did I have these rules? It was because I loved them and wanted the very best for them. I also wanted to prepare them for a cruel and unforgivingly harsh world out there that would not love them as I did.
The author goes on to talk about how husbands should treat their wives in such a way that convicts me to the very marrow o my bones. It caused me to change the way I viewed my entire life, no longer is it this small unit of just my family but parallels the Church as well. I no longer looked at his instructions as warnings of future punishment I would endure, but an opportunity to live the very best life I could. It is my best friend telling me all the secrets of success. Verse 20 tells us: “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
My take away is this; trust trumps understanding. If you put to rest his love for you and your justification, his atoning sacrifice and the redemption that is ours the list of dos and don’ts is no longer a score card but an outpouring of love that the lost have never felt. This should then cause us to want to preach the Gospel to all!
Your brother in Christ,