This blog post is a compilation of devotional thoughts from Ephesians 4 that Brian Rice, our missionary in Lucca, Italy, put together. Please enjoy.
Unity in the Body
Walk in a manner worthy of my calling. Be humble, gentle, patient, bearing the burdens of my brothers and sisters. Do what I can to maintain unity and peace.
V11-16 Spiritual leaders are to train the believers/the church to do the work of the ministry. Ministry is the calling of every believer, not just the pastors. As the pastors do the work of the ministry, they bring us along and teach us how to do it. Then, we bring others along with us as we do the work, and so on. It’s all part of discipleship.
A healthy church is Christ-centered and self-sustaining- it builds itself up in love. It’s like a growing organism. It has life, the life of Jesus in each of its members. Building up the church is a big deal to Jesus.
Don’t walk like the unbelievers walk. Ignorant, hard-hearted. This section of Ephesians is so pivotal to success in Christian living. The key to walking worthily is to put off the Old Man and to put on the New Man. In other words, stop acting like a sinner and start acting like a redeemed son of the King, a saint. But how? Obviously it can’t be done by following my feelings or by merely thinking my way through things. I need to be changed and changing every day. And there lies the key, by renewing my mind on Christ and His Word.
My thoughts, attitudes, words and actions are merely expressions of my beliefs. They will unfailingly follow my beliefs, so it’s really important to know what I believe and to be intentional about throwing out lies and building up Truth. This will give me a reliable conscience that will be a useful guide in decision making.
I recently heard that we receive over 3000 worldly messages each day through our senses. They tell us all kinds of lies about how we’re number one, we deserve pleasure, power and prestige. These messages aren’t even geared toward our moral destruction; they just want to get us to spend our money on their product, but first they must create a deception that tells us that we need their product. Each of these 3000 messages that we receive, renews our mind. Notice I didn’t say that the messages seek to renew our minds. They do renew our minds. This is one reason why typical people are self-centered, irrational, unreachable, angry, sensual, lawless, etc. They drink rom the fountain of the Old Man all day long, every day, and they don’t even know they’re drinking.
Now combat this with two hours of church every week. You have 160 hours of Old Man mind renewal and 8 hours of New man mind renewal. Ok, I’ll read my Bible for 30 minutes Mon-Sat. Now I have 157 hours Old man vs 11 hours New Man. Of course we sleep, but our minds tend to continue to think on and dream about what we filled our heads with all day long.
There’s only one solution to this renewal concept, and that is to live moment by moment in a conscious, intentional love relationship with the Son of God. This creates a filter to help protect me from the barrage of Old Man propaganda that flows from the tap 24/7. It’s like being married. You always have a consciousness of, “I’m a married guy.” No matter what you see or who approaches you or how, it has to pass through a wall that says, “I’m a married guy.” Old Man messages are rejected, and New Man messages that I learned previously are reinforced.
I remember when I began going to church every Sunday, then on Sunday nights too. Then, we added Wednesday evening. All the while, we were having a morning Quiet Time, just as I’m having now as I process these thoughts. The Old Man mind said, “you’re going off the deep end. You’re going to end up preaching on street corners or ministering in Africa. You better pull back.” Then, reality speaks and says that all of this combined time is still a small fraction of all my available time.
These are just some thoughts from my devo today.
Please help me to love You more, as You ought to be loved, adored and worshipped. Please help me to give You more of my time (all of my time) Please help me to be ever-conscious of Your presence and to be guided by wisdom so that I walk worthy of my calling so as to reach the Elect and glorify You name every day.
In Jesus’ name,