Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 11 - Ephesians 6

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ephesians 6. 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?)
  • At the end of chapter five, Paul was writing about the relationship between husband and wife. Chapter six begins with some other relationships.
    • He tells children to obey their parents because it will be a blessing later in their lives, and parents not to frustrate their kids but to teach them about God.
    • He tells slaves to obey their master and masters not to beat their slaves. (By the way, back then slavery was not what we think of it. It wasn't based on race. People typically sold themselves into slavery because of financial debt. Regardless, Paul is not condoning slavery here. The fact is that it was a part of their culture. Paul was simply teaching slaves and masters how to live out their faith in the place they found themselves in life.) 
  • Have you ever felt resistance when you just wanted to do something good? Maybe like there’s more to the evil in this world, and in you? We learn in verse 12 that there are "spiritual forces of evil" working in our world, and in our lives. There is a spiritual battle raging. We are instructed here to put on "the armor of God" so we can take a stand in this battle. Here are a few points about this armor:
    • The articles that make up the armor of God are not physical but spiritual.
    • Having a firm grasp on God’s truth will work like a belt holding our armor in place.
    • Having righteousness that comes from God (see 2 Corinthians 5:21) will shield our "vital organs" from being wounded.
    • The gospel makes us ready to act at a moment's notice.
    • Having faith in Jesus enables us to deflect the lies and temptations that get hurled at us.
    • Having salvation in Jesus protects our minds and keeps us in the fight.
    • Notice every part of the armor have been for the front of us; nothing has been said about protecting our backside. We are expected to face our enemy, not to run.
    • We are only given two spiritual weapons to use: the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (the bible) and prayer.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • In every relationship you have, Jesus is most important. Whether you're a child or parent, boss or employee, your faith in God should dictate how you live and how you treat the other person.
  • Think about what Paul said about slaves and masters. How can you apply what he said to your life at your job?
  • Whether you've ever thought this way, and regardless of whether you like it, there is a spiritual battle happening in our world, and you are in it. You can ignore it, and wonder why bad things happen (instead of realizing that of course they will, there's a war going on!), and very possibly become a casualty of it (ultimately, the goal of the "spiritual forces of evil" is to pull you away from God). Or you can take your stand and fight, with God's power and in the armor He provides you.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Are you living out your faith in your relationships? What about your relationship with your parents, or with your children? What about at work? How do you need to change so you can reflect God and His love in those relationships?
  • Do you view yourself as being in a spiritual battle everyday? If not, you are very susceptible and your relationship with God is an easy target, which means it's in jeopardy. What if you began everyday by acknowledging the battle you're in, and asking God to cover you with His armor and prepare you to fight?