We can learn a lot from Paul’s final words in his letter to Ephesus. In Ephesians 6:19 he asks for prayer, Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. We all need prayer; even Paul needed it. When we talk about leading a bold and fearless life for Christ, it is important to note it doesn’t come easy unless we have the Holy Spirit helping us. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your fear and ask God to help give you strength. Through Him we can do anything.
In all we do, no matter how small or insignificant, we should approach it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 10:11 to Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. The Armor of God is outlined in Ephesians 6:14-18, 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Let us remember the importance of including God, through the Holy Spirit, in all we do. His plan is perfect and the more we are guided by God, the smoother the road and understanding of our path.
In today’s passage, Paul references the relationship between a slave and master. While no one wants to think of this type of relationship, the interaction and expected behavior translates well to that a boss/leader and their employees. In Ephesians 6:6 Paul’s instruction to the slave works just as well to an employee, Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. It is less about showing your boss what you are doing right, and more about doing what is right in all circumstances because it shows obedience to Christ. Paul goes onto to talk to Masters and how they are to treat their slaves. Again, this translates well to bosses/leaders. At the end of Ephesians 6:10 Paul reminds them that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him. There is not difference in God’s eyes between a master and slave. We are all subordinate to Christ and are all expected to be a reflection of Him.
True faith in Christ and a changed heart will first be exhibited in the home through the relationships with the people who know us best. As a father of three, Ephesians 6:4 speaks loudest to me, Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in training and instruction of the Lord. As parents we sometimes turn into mini dictators trying to control every aspect of our children’s lives. But here Paul tells us to raise our children through Christ’s instructions. What is good for our lives is also good for our kids. If they do not live through the instruction of the perfect teacher, then we are a poor alternative.
There is a lot going on in Ephesians 5:22-33. Much of it is difficult to discuss without getting into a discussion about today’s cultural norms regarding marriage. However, the most important part of this passage is to understand what Paul’s ultimate point is about marriage and how we are to treat all believers, not just the ones we are closest to. In Ephesians 5:29 Paul sums up his point very clearly, After all, no one ever hates his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church. When it comes to other believers, especially those we love the most, we are to care for them as though they are part of our own bodies because in God’s eyes, they are.
Christ calls us to love one another. Paul even went as far as to say to “submit” to one another in Ephesians 5:21, Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Submitting does not mean being a doormat. It means to subordinate so we can receive the promises of Christ. If we are willing to follow Christ and work in accordance to His plan, we are more willing to obey His commands and live according to God’s perfect plan for our lives and for the big picture.
Before we accepted salvation from Christ, we were living in darkness, but through Christ were were exposed to the light and were able to see truth and grace given to us through Christ. In Ephesians 5:8 Paul says, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. Because of our salvation, we must live as people who can see truth and know hope through the love and promises of Christ through eternity.
God does not tell us to avoid contact with unbelievers; quite the contrary. We are called by Christ to love others as He loved us and to lead them to Him. However, we are to be an influence in this world and we are to guard ourselves from being influenced by it. In Ephesians 5:6 Paul says, Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. We must always remember that the promises of this world are fleeting and hold temporary satisfaction and fulfillment. It is through our love and obedience of God that we are able to make an eternal impact on those around us.
So many of us (myself especially) are too quick to give our opinions without completely thinking about the impact our words have on others. Paul warns us in Ephesians 4:29, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. If our words do not impact others in a positive way, we should rethink what we have to say. While there is a time to correct and instruct, we should still take great care in what we say and how we say it.
We are supposed to live in communion with one another, but there are times it feels like there is more separation than anything else. This is not just believer/non-believer relationships, it exists within the body of Christ’s church as well. In Ephesians 4:25 Paul reminds the Ephesian church to get past the areas of false teaching and disagreement and remember we are all part of the same community. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Nothing bothers me more than Christian believers arguing with one another. We need to stop majoring on the minors and find where God truly wants us to focus our attention and efforts for His kingdom.