It never ceases to amaze me when men choose to trust in themselves more than they trust in God. Abraham, the father of Israel, was no exception. In Genesis 12, instead of trusting in God to keep him safe, he decides to lie about his wife to Pharaoh. Sadly, this is not the exception, but the rule in most instances for all of us. Instead of trusting God to deliver us, we make our own battle plans and then ask God to bless it. Maybe we should spend more time asking God to lead and guide us and less time trudging ahead down our own path and then wondering why things don’t work out as planned.
We come into this world with nothing and spend most of our lives trying to gain as much money and possessions as we can, only to leave it all behind when we depart this life. In Ecclesiastes 5:15 Solomon says, Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hands. For the most part we do what is expected of us and what is required for us to survive. But what if we spend more time looking for God’s will for our lives and working towards fulfilling His plan so that our short time in this life is truly fulfilled?
There is a saying we are all familiar with, “Timing is everything”, and in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Solomon clearly gives us hope to know God has a perfect plan for those who believe and follow Him.
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
God’s plan and timing are perfect. The key is to learn to find peace and comfort in waiting on God’s plan. It may not be what we want at the time, but it is perfect.
It is interesting to think about what satisfies us. Is it our accomplishments? Or maybe it is in our relationships. But if we are honest, any satisfaction we feel is only temporary. In Ecclesiastes 2:11 Solomon says, Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. When you survey where you invest your life (time, energy, and money), how long does the sense of accomplishment last? Are we chasing after something we can never truly grasp, like the wind? Our only true sense of satisfaction and self-worth comes from God and His love for us. At the end of our lives let us look back with satisfaction that we made a difference and impacted lives for the kingdom of God.
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.
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.
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.
The knowledge of Christ and a relationship with Him are two separate things. In Ephesians 4:21 Paul reminds the Ephesians of this, Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. As believers who have a relationship with Christ, and who study His word, we are taught the truth of who Christ is and how we are to be a reflection of Him. We have no excuses when we believe in these truths. If we fail, it is because of a conscious decision to rebel against what we know is true.