December 13, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“You’re Better Than That!”

Ephesians 4:1-7 (ESV)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

One of the pastors that I work with likes to say, “Come on, you’re better than that,” when I do or say something dumb. Normally, this phrase has a negative connotation, but I think it can also be seen as an encouragement. When Paul says, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,” I can imagine him saying, “Come on, church of Ephesus, you’re better than that.”

Paul has spent quite some time laying down the groundwork for the believers to understand their identity in Christ, their relationship with God, and their relationship with one another. They are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God; they are no longer divided, but they are one body, Jews and Gentiles alike; and they are all heirs in the kingdom of God—they are royalty! I want to highlight what Paul says here, because I believe that there is a need for the church to wake up and start walking in a manner worthy of our calling.

The crux of this passage is Paul’s encouragement for the church to act like a church, by loving one another and maintaining unity through peace. Where do you think he got this idea? Right before Jesus was about to be arrested, He prayed for His disciples and those that would come to believe Him—this is referred to as the high priestly prayer. He prays that the church would be one just as the Father and He are one. We know how elusive unity within the body can be. When things are going well, it’s easy to maintain peace and walk in unity, but the moment things start souring, the moment disputes arise, we see the ugliness of division and hostility towards one another.

Scripture commands us to be eager to maintain this unity and to bear with one another in love. What practical way can we do this? We can start by deliberately choosing not to be offended. We can choose to take a loss for the sake of unity. We can even choose to humble ourselves to serve others, even when they are undeserving of it. This is the high calling that the Body of Christ is called to.

Prayer: Father God, help us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling that we’ve been called to. Remind us of our identity as sons and daughters of You, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Help us to treat one another with love and respect, eager to maintain unity through peace, and bearing one another’s burdens with love. Fill us and fill our churches so that we may be one as You are one. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 14


Lunch Break Study

Read John 17:20-23 (ESV): “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

Question to Consider

  1. Who is Jesus praying for?
  2. What does Jesus pray for the church to be like?
  3. What are ways that you could promote unity within your church? As Jesus desires the church to be one, do you also desire unity among your church (and the many churches in our midst)?

Notes

  1. Jesus is not only praying for the disciples who were there, but for all who will believe in Him through the words of the disciples. Basically, He is praying for the Universal Church – every single person who will come into a living relationship with Him and with the church.   
  2. He prays that they would be one just as the Father and He are one. This is deeply profound in that He desires the church would reflect the union that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit has, which has been a perfect union since before time existed. He mentions that this is so that the world would see how the Father sent the Son and loves His people.   
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

Our passage for the morning carries an admonishment for the church of Ephesus, because they were not behaving like a church that was loving one another and maintaining unity through peace.  We also need to ask ourselves: Are we behaving like people of God? Are we walking in a manner worthy of the calling in which we have been called to? Have we responded to God’s grace and mercy towards us with gratefulness and a desire to change? May Paul’s words ring true for us today, that we would understand our identity as sons and daughters of God, and that we would begin to start walking in this identity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s