We talked about feeling cozy and how taking it easy is sometimes necessary, but that God ultimately calls us to do a lot more than just feel comfortable. In the past few years it's become common for phrases like "you do you" to become life mottos for people, but this is not a new phenomenon because people have been living with mentality for millenia.
Shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus, a man named Paul made it his life's mission to tell people about Jesus. He eventually made it to the city of Ephesus and spent 3 years there making friends and helping start the Ephesian church. A few years after Paul had left the Ephesians, he was in jail for telling people about Christianity when he heard about his old friends in Ephesus... Paul was not happy with what he had heard, and decided to write the Ephesians a letter:
Ephesians 5:1-20 NIVWhile this letter seems harsh, it's important to understand "the why" behind the letter. From this text, we can gather two themes:
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.....
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Paul knows you have to earn the right to be heard.
- Paul had known the Ephesians for years, and had developed a strong friendship with them.
- Paul, the first and only the Christian the Ephesians probably would've met, took his role as a Christian model very seriously.
- The Ephesians trusted Paul because of the example he set for them, and they would've taken his words to heart.
- Though this letter comes across as Paul scolding the Ephesians, he begins this part of the letter with the words "follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children."
- Paul loved the people of Ephesus. He was their role model, but he was also their friend. And as their friend, Paul told the Ephesians as straight up as he could that they were missing the point.
- Paul challenges the Ephesians to stop doing these things because they were keeping them from drawing closer to God and keeping others from seeing who God really is.
We closed out the evening by listening to "Sigh No More" by Mumford & Sons and reflecting on the lyrics,
"Love; it will not betray youDismay or enslave you, it will set you freeBe more like the man you were made to beThere is a design, an alignment to cryOf my heart to see,The beauty of love as it was made to be."