5. Empowered Living: Ephesians
A deeper knowledge of Christ’s blessings empowers Christians to flourish in their living.
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Do you ever feel a disconnect between your beliefs and your behavior? In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he joins the two together. Paul shows how a deeper knowledge of Christ’s blessings empowers Christians to flourish in their living.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” Paul begins (Ephesians 1:3). What are these spiritual blessings? Paul unpacks them in the first part of his letter. In Christ, believers receive:
Belonging: We are chosen and adopted into God’s family.
Freedom: We are released from the punishment of our sin through Christ’s death.
New Life: We are joined to Jesus so that he now lives through us.
Inheritance: We are given a glorious, eternal existence with God.
Purpose: We share in God’s mission to restore all of creation and step into the good works God has prepared for us.
Connection: We are joined with others in God’s family.
Paul intensely longs for the Ephesians to comprehend the greatness of their blessings in Christ! “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened,” he says in Ephesians 1:18-19, “so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Paul expresses his longing for them to know Christ’s boundless and inexplicable love for them, that they may be “filled up to all the fullness of God.”
Paul then connects this knowledge to behavior: “I implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” Paul states in Ephesians 4:1. A deeper understanding of what we have in Christ compels Christians to live zealously for him! Paul urges his reader to take off their old ways and put on the new nature they have in God. Paul lays out what this looks like in the second portion of his letter:
Unity: We live in harmony with the body of Christ and use our gifts to serve others.
Relational Maturity: We cultivate peace and trade gossip for encouragement.
Sexual Purity: We exercise self-control and honor our bodies as gifts from God.
Clear-headedness: We refuse to be controlled by the influence of alcohol so we might instead be controlled by the presence of the Spirit.
Humility: We love as God has loved us and elevate others above ourselves. This means:
Husbands, laying down your lives for your wives.
Wives, making space for your husbands to take responsibility.
Employees, working hard for your employers.
Bosses, treating your workers well.
Children, obeying your parents.
Parents, being gracious with your kids.
Spiritual Protection: We fight against spiritual evil with the armor of prayer and God’s Word, protecting our unity and new humanity.
As Paul argues in Ephesians, it is grasping the blessing we have in Christ that empowers us to live fully and faithfully to God!
RESPOND: Echoing Paul’s prayer in Ephesians, take a moment to ask God to give you a deeper grasp of your blessings in him, that you might be empowered to live in response.
God, enlighten me to
the hope of your calling,
the riches of your inheritance,
the greatness of your power,
and the depth of your love,
that I might live a life worthy of all I’ve been given.