Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10 - Ephesians 5

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ephesians 5. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Parents love their own children. We can't imagine not loving them or having them in our lives. This is how God feels about his children. And we are those children! Because of his deep love for us, we should live a life of love in return.
  • Paul then warns about the opposite of God's love- a world of darkness and disobedience. A life without love is one of sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, and getting drunk. We need to choose to live life in the light of God's love.
  • Paul then states in verse 21 that we are all to submit to one another. Then he continues to discuss marriage specifically. The word submit means to give way to the needs of another. Many readers struggle with these verses thinking that submission is the same as slavery. But let's take a closer look. Wives are asked to submit to their husbands, while husbands are asked to love their wives. Does this mean a wife is to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants? Does it mean that a woman doesn't need to love her husband, just submit? No and no! We learn that marriage is symbolic of our relationship with Jesus. A husband symbolizes Jesus. (Those are some big shoes to fill!) A husband is asked to love like Jesus, which is the deepest, most sacrificial love that was ever given. Husbands, you are not just asked to care for your wife, you are asked to lay down your life for her. A wife symbolizes the church that Jesus loves so much. So we see that a wife is not being asked to submit to a demanding husband, but to the deepest and most sacrificial love she could ever know. That love she feels helps her to continue to submit and respect her husband. So, ultimately, both marriage partners are to meet each other's needs in a loving way, with Jesus as the ultimate example of how to do that.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • If you have children, you know that no one could love them more than you. You want nothing but the best for them. Good parents hope their children do better and live better lives than they did. When we understand how we feel about our kids, it's easier to understand how God feels about us. He hopes for a great and beautiful life for his children. This is why God calls us to a high standard of love, purity, worship, and thanksgiving. These standards are not those of an angry demanding father. Rather, they are the heart of a loving father who knows that sin is dark and destructive, and that there are better and healthier choices to be made. 
  • One of the ways we get rid of the sin in our lives is by exposing it rather than hiding it (verses 8-14). What's hidden tends to remain and to fester. What's exposed can be healed.
  • If we are married, we are to love and submit to each other with Jesus as the ultimate example and center of the relationship.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Do you really understand how much God loves you as one of his children and that he wants the best for you? Are you living in his love and giving that love away? Are you living a life of light? Where are you letting the darkness in? Ask for God's help with your sin today. Ask a friend for help too. We can't do it alone.
  • Giving up a sin can be a difficult challenge when we've been doing it for so long. They say that when we give up a bad habit, we should replace it with a new and good habit. Think of your sin in the same way. If you leave a sin behind, what good thing can you replace it with? Thankfulness? Joy? Reading the Bible? Decide what positive habit you could add today.
  • If you're married, think how Jesus' example of love could truly change your marriage. Imagine if you really loved and submitted to one another with the sacrificial love of Jesus. What a dynamic marriage you could have!