Ephesians 5:1-20The Message (MSG)
5 1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
3-4 Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.
5 You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.
6-7 Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.
8-10 You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.
11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
When I fear from the bottom of my soul, what am I fearing? There is a daily or typical fear of losing something nice, or that the weather won’t cooperate with my plans. This is not real fear. This is a disdain for discomfort. When I speak of fear, its of deep abandonment from all hope. That scares the heck out of me. What do I have, after all, if there is no hope. Hope and excitement of something bigger and happier in the future was the foundation of my childhood. I grew up dreaming Christmas morning. It wasn’t particularly spiritual for me, but it wasn’t without religious thought. Mainly it was a super fun time to be with family, experience the stability of tradition, and the joy of gifts. As I grew into a teenager, summer vacations and summer camp added to the hopeful splendor of the near future. It fueled my everyday waking and moving. Where is this hope in my life today?
Paul gives both a big picture and little picture view of not just WHO to hope in but HOW to hope in Him.
This, above all, is something I just can’t hear enough.
I don’t have to do anything or be anything to receive his love.
As a result, God in his kindness has given us his approval and we have become heirs who have the confidence that we have everlasting life.
By keeping company with Him (Scripture, prayer, contemplation, etc), I will gain a broader view of what loving others should truly look like. In his inspired wisdom, He doesn’t stop there. He knew me, 2000 years before my birth. He knew me and all my contemporaries.
In this era of social media, instant knowledge, and constant connection, we have new idols. The scariest part of this is that most of us are not aware of our new idol worship.
God does not need productivity from me. He doesn’t need me to do anything. He wants my love. As I spend more time getting to know Him, I will become one with His will. While my human nature will make it impossible to do His will 100% of the time, the Holy Spirit, whom I invited into my heart, changes the game. God knows of what I am capable. He has a plan for my life that will be of greater use to the kingdom beyond anything I can imagine. Paul reminds me in vs. 17 to be in tune with God’s will. I must not live on autopilot thinking I know what I am doing. Without a prayerful and discerning approach to every day, I will begin to lose touch with that plan.
My first line of communication for God’s plan for my life must God Himself. After that, there is nothing. God is my first line, second line, and third line. Everything must pass through discernment before it becomes a part of my routine.