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 personal daily life. Follow My example in living out the Father’s character and compassion in your daily work, in your other activities, and in your relationships with friends and family — in all that you do.
I submitted Myself to your needs and to the needs of the lost world (Philippians 2:5-11). I submitted to your needs to serve you and redeem you (Mark 10:45). Similarly, I want you to commit to 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, including with those closest to you, as worship. Paul wanted the Ephesians to know, and I want you to know, that proper living in a Christian household, in Christian relationships, and in whatever a Christian does ultimately comes back to Me, Who I AM, what I have commanded, and the manner in which I did what I did. (In the verses below, the bold text highlights implications that your commitment to Me has on how you live and how you interact with others.)
Many documents that were written by the apostle Paul’s contemporaries on virtue and proper living concluded with what were called “household codes” or “household rules.” The important standard 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, the key example, and the 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.
Also, Paul added another principle to his household rules, the principle of reciprocal submission. The flow of responsibility went both ways in Paul’s teaching:
- Wives to husbands and husbands to wives.
- Children to parents and parents to children.
- Slaves to masters and masters to slaves.
Those in the stronger position (husband, parent, master) were given specific instructions to live out their form of submission in challenging ways, just as I lived Mine as the Son of God (Philippians 2:5-11). This reciprocal submission was unheard of in Paul’s culture. Culturally and legally in these three relationships, the husband, parent, and master had all the authority. The “lower” person in their culture and in their laws — the wife, the child, or the slave — had all the responsibility to submit, obey, and serve. Not so with Paul or with Me.
The point of all of these principles, My beloved disciple, is that you must learn to live for others. I AM calling you to serve others before you benefit yourself. Follow My example of submission to the Father’s will. Be willing to submit even at great cost. Learn to live this way depending upon the Holy Spirit for your power. Seek to follow My example as you obey My will. Offer the way you live and the way you consider and serve others as your worship to the Father (Romans 12:1-2). As you do, you begin to redeem the very situations in which you live these principles.
Verses to Live
What Paul wrote to the Ephesians in the verses below was said in the language of worship: “submit humbly to one another out of respect [holy fear or reverence] for the Anointed,” Christ Jesus — Me. Early in this section, Paul gave the command “let God fill you with the Holy Spirit.” Then Paul gave five ways the Holy Spirit is energized in the life of My disciple as that disciple lives a life of worship:
- “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.”
In this way, Paul moved the way My disciples were to relate to their families and others from a set of rules into making their home life and interpersonal relationships part of their worship. In other words, Paul gave much more to the Ephesians than a standard set of household rules. He called on My disciples (1) to follow My example in these daily relationships, (2) to live by the power of the Holy Spirit in these relationships, and (3) to recognize that the way they lived in their relationships was an important aspect of their worship. I hope you recognize these same truths as well!
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.
(Ephesians 5:15-33; Ephesians 6:1-9)
Response in Prayer
O Father, thank You for considering my everyday activities and my interactions with those who are part of my daily world as worship. I confess that there are some people in my life who are hard to treat as I know Jesus would treat them. I am trusting in the Holy Spirit to fill me and empower me as I serve all those around me and as I seek to display to them the grace of Jesus. Please be glorified in my life in both big and small ways as I offer all that I am and all that I do as worship to You! In Jesus’ name, I ask that You receive the daily praise of my life. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
© 1998-2023, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus‘ is part of the Heartlight Network.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.