Over the years I can recall hearing about people who were said to be good role models. Some I agree were worthy of the honor, and with others I strongly disagree.
A simple definition of a role model according to Webster’s is someone who another person admires and tries to be like.
I am looking at Ephesians Chapter 5 and breaking down the verses on what it looks like to imitate God. The “do’s and don’ts and why’s" are clearly written. These are not suggestions either, not if we are to be imitators.
(Do) Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love,
(Why) just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
(Don’t) there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed,
(Why) because these are improper for God's holy people.
(Don’t) Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Why) For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
(Don’t) Let no one deceive you with empty words,
(Why) for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
(Why) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
(Do) Live as children of light
(Why) (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
(Don’t) Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
(Why) For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
(Do) Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity,
(Why) because the days are evil.
(Don’t) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.
(Do) Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Do) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
(Do) Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
(Why) For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
(Do) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
(Why) to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
(Do) In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.
(Why) He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
I love to read and I read fast. This can be a problem because I can easily miss the impact of what is being said, so I have been forcing myself to slow down and pay closer attention, especially in my bible reading. As I read this chapter today, I thought it would be interesting to break it down in the “do’s, don’ts and why’s”.
God has given us the greatest ‘role model’ ever!
Hmm…a half-baked cake doesn’t sound good to me. We often use the term as half-baked, sometimes in reference to food, as in this text, other times to idea’s. Either way, it’s not good.
The spiritual condition of Ephraim was not good!!
Hosea 7:1-16 I want to heal Israel, but its sins are too great.
Samaria is filled with liars. Thieves are on the inside and bandits on the outside!
Its people don't realize that I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them, and I see them all.
The people entertain the king with their wickedness, and the princes laugh at their lies.
They are all adulterers, always aflame with lust. They are like an oven that is kept hot while the baker is kneading the dough.
On royal holidays, the princes get drunk with wine, carousing with those who mock them.
Their hearts are like an oven blazing with intrigue. Their plot smolders through the night, and in the morning it breaks out like a raging fire.
Burning like an oven, they consume their leaders. They kill their kings one after another, and no one cries to me for help.
The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake!
Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength, but they don't even know it. Their hair is gray, but they don't realize they're old and weak.
Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don't return to the Lord their God or even try to find him.
The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves, first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help.
But as they fly about, I will throw my net over them and bring them down like a bird from the sky. I will punish them for all the evil they do.
What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have told lies about me.
They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and wail. They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for grain and new wine, and they turn away from me.
I trained them and made them strong, yet now they plot evil against me.
They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow. Their leaders will be killed by their enemies because of their insolence toward me. Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them.
Hos 4:1-2 There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Sadly, this reminds me of our nation today. The book of Hosea exemplifies God’s love and graciousness to turn them back to him. From the text it appears they have turned their back on God, but God has not given up on Israel.
Isa 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
I am still saddened, angry and amazed that our country has passed laws making certain sinful actions “legal”.
Saying something is right doesn’t make it right!!
Josh 24:15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks. -Phillip Brooks
Getting out of our comfort zone was a recent Sunday morning lesson. It made me squirm a bit and I expect others as well. I admit, in my mind I started justifying why I don’t need to get out of my comfort zone by remembering Romans 12:4-8 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
As I thought more about it I admitted to myself I was taking Romans 12:4-8 out of context. I thought about how I got out of my comfort zone when I learned to ride a bike, drive a car, learned to cook, got a job. The list is endless; on many occasions we have all had to get out of our comfort zones for one reason or another. (Ugh! There went my backup plan).
There will be occasions when we will be called to step up and step out. Time to walk in another’s shoes and lend a hand. It might make us nervous, sweaty and shaky. In the middle of that nervous, sweaty and shaky situation, you might be surprised to find what a blessing you were to others.
Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Do not strive in your own strength; cast yourself at the feet of the Lord Jesus, and wait upon Him in the sure confidence that He is with you, and works in you. Strive in prayer; let faith fill your heart-so will you be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. -Andrew Murray
This post came about from observing our leaders trying to find a few willing bodies to fill in while most of the church family is away as family camp.
If you are like me, ever so often you need to take inventory and make a list before a trip to the grocery store or when your insurance comes up for renewal, asking, do I have enough or too much.
Often I pause to take my ‘spiritual’ inventory.
Am I saying “no” to self and “yes” to Christ… am I remembering Galatians 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I recently finished reading Micah again and am reminded how God hates idolatry, unfairness, rebellion, and empty rituals.
I love this question from Micah 6:8 And what does the Lord require of you?
(I find this a good question for beginning my spiritual inventory).
Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
This scripture has a strong message and should not be taken lightly. It gives instruction on how we are to live every day. Not when we are trying to impress others, not in ritualistic actions or service. It is to be so ingrained in us that it becomes our nature.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Isaiah 1:16-17 Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
Jeremiah 22:3 This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
Zechariah 7:9-10 "This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
For me, this next one covers all of the above, if I am loving God and my neighbor as stated below, I will be obeying the ones above. It’s all about loving God and loving others and expressing that love in the way I treat others. I know full well it’s not as easy as it sounds, because we all know how others can get on our last nerve at times. I also know that God doesn’t ask any thing of us that we can’t do.
Matthew 22:37-40 "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
It all comes down to our heart, God doesn’t want sacrifices, he wants our hearts to be in tune to others, loving Him, loving others and serving. Finding our talents and using them.
I am also reminded that our God is truly an awesome God…Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.