Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Hit the target. Please God!

 Read Ephesians 5

I am the Lord your God.  Be holy because I am holy.  We read this in Leviticus. It was very much the theme of the entire book.

We see the same thought in Peter’s letters.

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;  for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.

God has always set us apart, made us special just for him, and taken a special interest in his children.  He started with the Hebrew people but his love is for all of his children.  Be the special creation that God has designed you to be. He made a way for you to be that person in the sacrifice made by God himself.

Paul puts it this way.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Paul spent a good part of his letter to the church in Ephesus telling them—and us—just how much we are blessed in Christ.  Now it’s time for the how do we live part. Remember the general guidance from the previous chapter.

 I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

In this chapter, Paul gives some specifics.  You remember that orgy you were invited to attend next weekend.  Send your regrets or just don’t go without regret.

Remember those raunchy jokes you heard at work.  Don’t repeat them.  In fact, don’t even remember them.

And this whole greed thing, it doesn’t go with your wardrobe.  It clashes with the new clothes that you are now wearing as a new creation.  Did you forget how blessed you are?  Why must we covet more and spend our lives in pursuit of that which can never really satisfy?

There is nothing wrong with having nice things and not having to check the balance in your checking account every two hours to make sure nothing bounced, but greed is an indicator that we are not seeking God, his kingdom, or his righteousness.  We cannot serve two masters.

If the things of this world have become your god—a false god for sure but one that has taken the place of the one true God—then we are not trusting the one and only God to deliver on his promises.  We are disobedient and have disdain for God.

Earlier Paul might have called this grieving the Spirit.

Enough for specifics.  Paul tells us to figure out what pleases God and do that.  Paul is preaching one body but we have our individual roles.  We have our set of gifts and talents.  Figure out what it is that God equipped you to do and do that!

It’s light and darkness.  It’s God’s way and everything else.  Live in the light.  Live God’s way.  Why these broad terms for a narrow path?

Leviticus is a laundry list of many things but it includes a whole bunch of don’ts.  Do not do this.  Do not do that.

Paul noted in his letter to the Romans that he didn’t know what sin was until the law said don’t do that. Until someone said don’t kick the cat, I didn’t even think about kicking the cat.

Paul is saying that instead of making a list of landmines to avoid, it’s better to focus on the target to be hit.  Live in the light.  Do what pleases God.  Love one another.  Help carry someone’s burden.  Speak the truth in love.

Sin—transgression—is missing the mark.  It’s missing the target.  If I had a Marine that was having trouble hitting the target, I first looked to his sight alignment and sight picture.

OK, we are not at the range, so what’s the point?  Make sure you have the things that please God in your sights.  You can’t hit the target if you keep glancing at the things in the everything else.

Focus on what pleases God. Be holy as God is holy. Live in the light as he is in the light. There is God’s way and there is everything else.  Focus on God’s way.

Where is your focus?

What is your target?

If you are adrift, asleep, or thinking of the everything else, wake up and focus on the target.  Do what pleases God.



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