Ephesians: How to Live an Intentional Life
For those of us who follow Christ, it’s important to understand “why” we choose to live intentionally. If we take the book of Ephesians and split it into two halves, the first three chapters is the orthodoxy of our faith – our position in Christ. It’s all about God’s intentional love for us. Then in Chapter 4, moving to the last three chapters, Paul turns in a different direction. He ends the first half of Ephesians saying, as a result of everything I just said in the first three chapters, here is how I want you to live your life (paraphrased). We’ll look at the first three chapters in this blog and the last three in the next one.
When we talk to our children, we often focus on what we want them to do. Maybe we need to spend a little more time talking about why what we want them to do is important. Take the opportunity to tell them why – “I want you to grow up and honor God.” “I want you to grow up and be a good father, someday.” Let’s look at three reasons we should choose to live intentionally.
1. We should choose to live intentionally because of God’s intentional love for us.
How do we know that God loves us? Here are four ways He demonstrates His love to us:
· The God of the universe chose you. In the grand scheme of things, God had a plan for you, and He chose you. Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (Ephesians 1:4 NKJV).
· He adopted you. Something about adoption is powerful thing. To understand that God actually adopted you and me into his kingdom, into his family, lets look at the next verse. Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (v.5). Every time I read that verse, I realize the great gift that it really is – the God of the Universe chose to adopt you and me, and bring us into His kingdom.
· He redeemed you. In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (v. 7). This is powerful.
· He gave you the Holy Spirit. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (v. 13). God uses the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to build our lives and to allow us to really function in the world in which we live today.
2. Another reason why we live intentionally is because God gets the glory. When we live intentionally in Him, all the glory is His.
Here are three examples of how He gets the glory:
· He made you alive. In you he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). That means we were dead spiritually and He made you alive.
· He saved you by grace. For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is a gift of God not of works lest anyone should boast (v. 8-9).
· He made you for good works. We talk about the difference between being work-oriented. It’s clearly that God has made us to be about doing good works. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (v. 10).
3. We should live intentionally because God said so. When Daddy says so, Daddy means it, right?
· He made gentiles fellow heirs. He reached out to include all of us and allowed us to choose to be grafted in to become part of the Kingdom. Paul said, The gentiles should be fellow heirs of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ through the Gospel (Ephesians 2:19).
The first three chapters contain the orthodoxy of our faith – our position in Christ. We covered that in part one of this blog. Then Paul turns in a different direction saying, as a result of everything I just said in the first three chapters, here is how I want you to live your life (paraphrased). Now we are going to see in these last three chapters briefly how we are to live our lives intentionally.
1. Walk worthy of your calling. The very next sentence from the pen of the Apostle Paul, says: Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, I beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with you were called (Ephesians 4:1). Paul turns from belief to behavior.
2. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Our minds are the seed of what gets us in trouble in our lives. If you are having problems in your relationships, it starts right here.
As you read through Ephesians, our head, heart, hands, thinking, emotions and our behavior can either be under the authority of the Holy Spirit, or they can be under our own control. Paul tells us here to be renewed in the spirit of your minds. You do that by prayer, by reading, by meditating and by telling yourself the truth.
3. Work with your own hands. Let him who stole steal no longer, but, rather, let him labor working with his hands what is good that he may have something to give him who has need (Ephesians 4:28 ESV).
4. Use your time wisely. Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). Time is a precious thing.
Today, we occupy our time with a lot of distractions and not use the time that God’s given us. Really, it’s all we have. We get about 27,000 days on the planet (see Psalm 90:12). I can’t think of anything more valuable than using the time we have to reach someone for Christ.
5. Be filled with the spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The Holy Spirit is in you. He comes into our lives when we accept Him as our Savior. But every day there we need to make sure He is filling every aspect of our lives. There’s power when we humbly ask the spirit of God to direct us in how we are going to live our lives every day.
6. Work as unto the Lord. Paul said, With goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men (Ephesians 6:7). Ultimately what matters is what we do for God.
Without a why in life, the how and the what really doesn’t matter all that much, because many of us live in the what and how of life. What do we do? How do we do it? And we’re busy, but if we don’t get the why clearer, then we live our lives in a way that sometimes we wake up and say why am I doing this? Whys are important because then you better understand the how and what.
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