Thursday 26 November 2015

Bible Book:

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (5:1-2)

Ephesians 4:32 – 5:8 Thursday 26 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 135:1-7


Despite some doubts about whether Ephesians was written by Paul,or even if it was written to the people of Ephesus, it has beenseen through the centuries as a letter of hope and challenge forchurches and individuals.

Within this passage, which at first glance appears to be rules andregulations (the end of a list for the "new life" and the start ofwhat needs to be renounced from pagan life), we find the above twoverses.

Put aside for a moment the human desire for detailed rulesregulating behaviour and imagine how different the world would beif we all desired to imitate God as revealed in Jesus. Perhaps thatsounds too daunting, so imagine instead being a loved child whoshares that love with their siblings. Although this still seemsdaunting there is a way we can do it. Jesus set the example for usduring his earthly life.

But maybe there is a trend here. Disciples start with the goal offollowing Jesus and then gradually add rules and regulations to besure they are doing the right thing. One of the casualties thatmight result from this is reconciliation. Rules and regulationstend to create barriers - those who are in and those who are out.If, instead, we aim to imitate God, living in love as Christ loved,then like Christ we will be reconcilers, reaching out to those whofall outside the rules. We will be bringing hope and new life tothose who are excluded and welcoming them as our sisters andbrothers.

Of course another reason for rules is to be sure we know who is inthe wrong - who has no place in the kingdom - but verse 5 remindsus that this is not our concern but God's. Our task is to love andlet God handle the rest. (Thank God for that!)

To Ponder

  • What rules have you created to protect yourself from thechallenge of imitating God and loving as Jesus loved?
  • Which rules in your community exclude people and whichinclude?
  • What might you do differently today so that others might seeyou living in love as Jesus did?
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