Ephesians 5:1 seems to be an impossible command – to be an imitator of God. Take a minute to see it in the context of the last verses of the previous chapter. In those verses Paul had asked that his readers act in three ways – that they speak well of each other, that they get rid of all bitterness, and that they are kind and compassionate to one another.
If this is how we imitate God, then God is just like that to us. He speaks well, even thinks well of us. He has no bitterness towards us, and he is kind and compassionate towards us.
Take a few moments to rest in these truths today.
The reality of Christ in us is not just something to bring us comfort, but is also something that is to be a blessing for others. In Ephesians 4:31 for example, Paul encourages us to ‘get rid of all bitterness’. How can we do this?
Bitterness is not a part of the Jesus that dwells within us, it comes from elsewhere. When we find negative emotions rising up, that is the time to find the presence of Jesus within us, and to find the good things that dwell in us because he dwells in us.
It is not about an act of will, but rather finding the one within, and letting him shine through us.
Ephesians 3:17 speaks about Christ dwelling in our hearts. If that is true, then it must mean that everything that goes with Christ is also in our hearts – his goodness, his kindness, his strength, his power, his patience . . .
Whatever our need at this time, the answer is in the fact that Christ is in us, and as we tune into his presence, it becomes possible to find what we need from his presence.
Take a moment to
1] identify our need
2] tune into the reality of Christ within us
3] find what is in him to meet that need
Psalm 73 is a very honest psalm. It starts with the writer being hurt and confused by situations around him, but ends with him acknowledging how bitter he has become. The turning point is in verse 17, when he enters the sanctuary.
How often are we confused and hurt, and we stay that way precisely because we do not take time to come into his presence, and let him change us.
Take a moment to sit with him, find him near you and let his presence touch your concerns and hurts. That is what makes the difference to us.
Ephesians 2:9 says that salvation is free – that means that everything about salvation is free, including healing, and bearing the presence of God. We will want to change our lives after God has touched us, but it doesn’t seem to be a condition for him touching us. Whatever we feel we have done, let’s take time to remember his presence within us and enjoy the sense of being at home with him.
Romans 5:17 talks about us ‘reigning in life’. That probably sounds like a far cry from the experience of many.
Paul says that the way we reign in life is not by effort or hard work but by receiving – receiving God’s abundant grace and the gift of righteousness.
Take a moment to sit with Jesus (it doesn’t matter whether we feel him or not) and breathe in his presence. It is his gift. Receive him and wait and see the difference it makes as we let him fill us with himself and bring about the change he wants to bring.