Thursday October 23rd, 2014
Your Daily Worship
Note from Jesus
In yesterday's note, I urged you to display your Father's righteous character and gracious compassion. Today, I apply that principle more fully to your daily personal life. Follow My example in living out the Father's character and compassion in your daily work and other activities and in your relationships with friends and family.
I submitted Myself to your needs and to the needs of the lost world to redeem you (Philippians 2:5-11). Similarly, I want you to live a life of submission to redeem those in the world around you. Much of what Paul wrote to the Ephesians in today's verses centers on seeing your daily life, especially your daily life with those closest to you, as part of your worship. Paul wanted the Ephesians to know — and I want you to know — that proper living in a Christian household and in Christian relationships ultimately comes back to Me: Who I AM, what I have commanded, and the manner in which I did what I did — see the highlights about this in bold in the verses below.
Many documents on virtue and proper living that were written by the apostle Paul's contemporaries concluded with what were called "household tables" or "household rules." The standard important household in Paul's day consisted of husband and wife, parents and children, and often slaves (including household servants) and masters.
Paul used this familiar form and filled it full of new meaning. He used this format to focus on Me as the motivating center, key example, and moral authority for the behaviors he commanded. My disciples were to follow My example, were to be moved by My sacrifice to do the right thing, and were to honor Me by obeying My will. This focus elevated Paul's words from admonitions to live the cultural norm to living a life of submission and worship empowered by the Holy Spirit.
In addition, Paul added another principle to his household rules: reciprocity. The flow of submission went both ways in Paul's teaching — wives to husbands and husbands to wives; children to parents and parents to children; and slaves to masters and masters to slaves. Those in the stronger position (man, parent, master) where given specific instructions to live out their form of submission in challenging ways, just as I lived them as the Son of God (Philippians 2:5-11). This reciprocity was basically unheard of in Paul's culture. Culturally and legally in these three relationships the man, parent, and master had all the authority. The "lower" person — the wife, the child, or the slave — had all the requirements to submit, obey, and serve. Not so with Paul.
The point of all of this, My beloved disciple, is that you must learn to live for others and serve them before you benefit yourself. Follow My example of submission to the Father's will. Be willing to do this even at great cost. When you learn to live this way depending upon the Holy Spirit for power, seeking to follow My example and obey My will, and offering what you do as your worship to the Father, then you begin to redeem the very structures in which you live them.
Verses to Live
- "speak to each other... in the soulful words of pious songs."
- "make music with your hearts attuned to God."
- "give thanks to God the Father."
- "submit humbly to one another."
So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps. Don't run around like idiots as the rest of the world does. Instead, walk as the wise! Make the most of every living and breathing moment because these are evil times. So understand and be confident in God's will, and don't live thoughtlessly. Don't drink wine excessively. The drunken path is a reckless path. It leads nowhere. Instead, let God fill you with the Holy Spirit. When you are filled with the Spirit, you are empowered to speak to each other in the soulful words of pious songs, hymns, and spiritual songs; to sing and make music with your hearts attuned to God; and to give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done.
And the Spirit makes it possible to submit humbly to one another out of respect for the Anointed. Wives, it should be no different with your husbands. Submit to them as you do to the Lord, for God has given husbands a sacred duty to lead as the Anointed leads the church and serves as the head. (The church is His body; He is her Savior.) So wives should submit to their husbands, respectfully, in all things, just as the church yields to the Anointed One. Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word. He has given Himself so that He can present the church as His radiant bride, unstained, unwrinkled, and unblemished — completely free from all impurity — holy and innocent before Him. So husbands should care for their wives as if their lives depended on it, the same way they care for their own bodies. As you love her, you ultimately are loving part of yourself (remember, you are one flesh). No one really hates his own body; he takes care to feed and love it, just as the Anointed takes care of His church, because we are living members of His body. "And this is the reason a man leaves his father and his mother and is united with his wife; the two come together as one flesh." There is a great mystery reflected in this Scripture, and I say that it has to do with the marriage of the Anointed One and the church. Nevertheless, each husband is to love and protect his own wife as if she were his very heart, and each wife is to respect her own husband.
Now to you, children, obey your parents in the Lord because this is right in God's eyes. This is the first commandment onto which He added a promise: "Honor your father and your mother, and if you do, you will live long and well in this land."
And, fathers, do not drive your children mad, but nurture them in the discipline and teaching that come from the Lord.
Slaves, respect and fear your earthly masters. Obey and serve them with the same sincerity of heart. Don't put on a show just because they are looking (as if you were a people pleaser); but as a slave of the Anointed, do the will of God from your heart. Serve them in good faith as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because all good deeds are gifted back from the Lord, and they are yours whether you are a slave or not.
Masters, hear this: act in kind to your slaves. Stop terrorizing and threatening them. Don't forget that you have a Master in heaven who does not take sides or pick favorites.