Ephesians 4:14-24

Jesus, be the Lord over ALL my life.

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Father, thank You for Jesus!  Thanks for the reminder in a song playing this morning: “…Just be a still small voice, and let the truth be heard, that Jesus is the way, the truth…” (from “Jesus Is” by Point of Grace on Steady On).  And then we sit down to visit over this passage which holds contrasts of truth and deceit.

Jesus is Truth.  Satan is the Deceiver, the father of lies.  Realms are contrasted and the choices before me, as to how I choose to live and who I choose to listen to, are spelled out as well in this passage:

DECEIT @ WORK (v 14)

When I choose to listen to “every wind of teaching,” and to “the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming,” I’m like an infant afloat alone on the high seas, the waves just tossing me around, the wind blowing me here and there.  The “wind of teaching” may be the seemingly innocent stuff, that I could easily assume is just part of life–like the kinds of teachings or hidden curriculum that comes through ANYthing I allow in my mind through ANY kind of media.

Lord, give me discernment.  Help me to filter what comes into my mind or give me the strength so simply not let some things in.  Guard my heart from “winds of teaching” that blow in clouds to make the light of Your Truth dim.  Guide me by Your Spirit when it comes to making choices about what I submit my mind to through watching, reading, listening, or discussing.

Especially give me Your discernment to recognize the “deceitful scheming” in the world today and protect my mind.  You’ve told me:  “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

{Side Note: So, it says, “LIKE a roaring lion,” not really a lion.  The enemy just makes a lot of noise.  You, Jesus, are the true Lion of Judah! And “the daughter of a Lion is a lion!” [Kathryn Boone, Heritage Keepers ’98]  You and me, strong are we, Jesus!  RRRROARRRRRR!!} 🙂

TRUTH @ WORK (v 15-16)

Truth and Love work hand in hand.  The goal of their work is that the whole Body of Christ might grow up, be joined together, parts supporting parts, each part doing its work.  In John 14:6, Jesus, You say YOU are Truth.  1 John 4:8 tells me “God is Love.”  So, here in this Ephesians passage, Father and Son are at work in and through the object of their greatest affection and passion: people!

Truth + Love = growth toward Christ-likeness and wholeness as His Body.

DECEIT @ WORK (v 17-19)

In these verses, You give a pretty thorough and grim description of a life that’s led by Deceit: futile thinking, darkened understanding, separate from the life of God, ignorance inside from a hardened heart, loss of all sensitivity, giving self over to sensuality (“because I can”), indulging in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more (“if it feels good, do it”).  Oh my!  Quite extreme attitudes and behaviors!

Yet, I recognize that the road to an extreme begins with little trips in that direction.  And that’s where Deceit does its work.  When I choose to drive the car of my life down Route D, often the clearest radio frequency along that route is WLIE.  The more I tune in, the more I allow Deceit to work on my mind than Truth.  When I pull over, give the keys to You, Jesus, and allow You to drive, the reception on that other radio station fuzzes out and the clear tones of YOUR station resound because You steer me along paths of righteousness.  You still allow me to navigate, by getting to make choices (through the gift of free will) along the way.  But, having You in control brings a peace that I don’t have any other way.

TRUTH @ WORK (v 20-24)

Thank You, Father, for seeing to it that I have been exposed to, taught from and led by Your Truth–Your Word.  You have made me a new creature.  You desire that I leave my old self in the trash pile–my “former way of life…corrupted by its deceitful desires.”  You call me to “be made new” in my mind’s attitude.  You tell me to “put on the new self”–it’s a new me that You’ve “created to be like You in true righteousness and holiness.”

Do it, Father! And renew it each day!  Make me just like Jesus–no matter what it takes!  Thank You for Your work in me!

Many in this world are groping around, thinking, “The Truth is out there.”  Use my life–the one You’re at work in–to vividly, realistically, genuinely show those seekers, “The Truth is Jesus.”

Let’s do today, Lord.  Make me a blessing, Amen.

1 Corinthians 16

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.
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“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” (16:13-14 NIV)
“Keep your eyes open, hold onto the faith with all you’ve got, stand up like a man, develop your muscles. Let your every act be an expression of love.” (16:13-14 Cotton Patch Version)
“Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.” (16:13-14 MSG)
“Keep alert. Be firm in your faith. Stay brave and strong. Show love in everything you do.” (16:13-14 CEV)

These words were some that You moved Paul to pen just as he wrapped up his first letter to the Corinthians, Lord. He was encouraging their steadfastness as they awaited his visit. How applicable these words are for us today, as we await Your return visit to us!

“BE ON YOUR GUARD” — Keep me aware of the tools the enemy uses to undermine or attack my faith in You.
“STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH” — Let nothing move me from the conviction that You are faithful to all that You say.
“BE COURAGEOUS” — Fill me with a boldness that draws its strength from knowing who I am in You and because of You.
“BE STRONG” — Strengthen me with Your power by Your Holy Spirit as You guide me in facing anything.
“DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE” — Continually shape my nature so that this is a natural part of who I am. Make me a reflection of Jesus. Amen.