YOU MAKE ME WANT TO BE BETTER
- Key Verse
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)
- READ THE CHAPTER
Be unified with Christ to walk as children of Light.
God's truth is in my face daily, it seems. Yet, I still run away from His teachings -- His calling. For example, I run away from being humble, gentle, unified, having one faith, equipping one another, speaking truth, being kind, and forgiving.
It's Friday afternoon, and a deadline is quickly approaching. As I hear a knock on my office door, phrases like, "Really?," "Come on!," and "Again?," race through my mind as someone enters. As a manager, I spend numerous hours guiding, counseling, teaching, serving, and directing people. I frequently need to consider and observe what I articulate before I actually respond.
Headers for the beginning of Ephesians 4 include the word "unity" in many translations. I am often reminded that I need to be unified with Him before I can be unified with others, specifically my team members. How is my personal relationship with the Lord? Am I bonded with Him, or have I placed my thoughts and desires on the world?
In the next section of Ephesians 4, verses 17-31, headers in multiple translations read, "Living as Children of Light." In moments like the one above when I hear that knock at my door, it's my job to ask Him for assistance to speak the truth in love when all those phrases set out above race to the front of my mind. I need to ask myself first, "Are my words toward other staff useful for teaching or hurtful and demeaning?"
These passages do not tell me that I shouldn't feel angry, BUT He does provide solid direction for what that anger can do if I don't handle it correctly. The outcome of my sharp non-constructive words can push others away from having a relationship with the Lord.
A good friend once said to me, "You make me want to be better!" That statement charges me continually to live by example and to be unified with Him so I may speak in truth. It encourages me to fix my thoughts and attitudes on Him so He can make me better.
1. What is it that I do to be unified with Christ?
2. Do I have friends that charge me toward Him or further away?
3. What do I base my faith on?
4. How can I use my words to glorify Christ?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
August 6-10 (Ephesians 2-6)
Read Ephesians 6:10-20.
In verse 11, Paul talks about the schemes and strategies of the Devil.
• What are they?
• What does Paul say we should use to fight those schemes?
• Make a list of all the pieces of God's armor. What does each piece do?
• Go through your house and find articles of clothing to represent all the pieces of God's armor. Take time to review and memorize what each piece is and what it represents. Example: a hat to stand for the helmet that represents our salvation.
Activity: Write each of the following words on a separate piece of paper: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, Word of God. Now put the clothing that represents each one across the room. If you have enough family members, you can make this into a competition by getting two piles of clothes that represent each thing. Now, draw one card from the pile, read it, and run down and get the item that represents that word. You can make it more difficult by pulling out more than one card.
Daily, we are to put on our armor so that we can withstand the attacks of the enemy. Talk together about what it looks like to put these things on every day (spending time in God's Word, praying, reminding yourself of your salvation, etc.).