This is my 30th blog post for the Write 31 Days challenge, which I signed up to four days late.
Ephesians 3: 14 -21 The Message (Paul speaking)
I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit – not brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test it’s length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!
In God patiently teaching me to slow into BEing with Him, in His Love, instead of DOing to earn His Love, He is stretching me further to follow His Word more closely than I have been. He is encouraging me to step into my human fear of rejection by choosing to tell the truth, and thereby helping me to realize that I need “both feet planted firmly on love”, His Love, to live this life on earth in the full freedom He has called me into.
In God, I am called to give voice to the hurt done to me, seeking to honour Him by speaking the truth:
Ephesians 4: 25 – 27
What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry – but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Do not go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
31 – 32
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend
can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
while also extending love and grace in doing so, recognizing that we are not all given the same gifts:
Ephesians 4: 4 – 8
You were called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,
He climbed the high mountain,
He captured and seized the booty,
He handed it all out in gifts to the people.
I grew up in the Anglo-Saxon culture of choosing “politeness” above speaking the truth. This essentially meant that the anger and hurt that didn’t just disappear, morphed itself into talking behind each other’s back, choosing gossip above truth-telling. I have felt God leading me to own up to this, calling me to “grow up”: “to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything.” (Ephesians 4: 15, The Message). But as the Bible points out, the “whole truth” isn’t something that is appreciated in this world. We are more likely to find resistance than support for true Biblical living.
A friend sent me this Scripture, which puts everything into perspective:
Proverbs 2: 1 – 11
1 My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
I still lean toward seeking wisdom in human words spoken and written to me. Where they say hurtful things to me, when I have tried to speak the truth in love and grace, I lean to blame myself and believe what they say of me and others dear to me. I fear man, rather than God. But as this Scripture points out, when I follow the wisdom and knowledge of God, contained in His Word, in choosing to walk in integrity, He will be my “shield” (verse 7) as I do so. I have nothing to fear and when what I say is not received in love, I must choose to rest in His Loving Embrace, must choose to plant my feet on LOVE, on HIM, the rock of my salvation. Knowing that just as Christ brought freedom to many in and through His suffering, while choosing to remain in His Father’s Love, I am called to do the same. “His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.” (Ephesians 4: 16). May I accept this “nourishing” and choose to “grow up healthy in God”, letting beauty be revealed in the ashes of my old life.
Do you also struggle to be honest? Struggle to reveal your true feelings? You may find these two posts helpful, as in their difficult, yet vital honesty, they point us all to Jesus:
- Kara Tippetts about anger, voicing our emotions and grace
- Karen Beth on Where Grace and Truth Collide