My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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Feeling Tossed About
Hurricane clean-up in Texas.
We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.
(Eph. 4:14 NRSV)
Most of the time when we read this text we assume that Paul is speaking to the believers in and around Ephesus and exhorting them to hold firm. Interestingly, Jerome, in the early centuries of Christianity suggests that Paul may be, in humility, speaking of his own faith: admitting that from time to time, he may be feeling tossed to and fro. This is a confession of his own awareness that he could be tempted by those who try to scheme and pull him away from the faith.
Paul never seemed to expect anything from anyone else that he wouldn’t do himself. Therefore, this confession of his own weakness is then an example to others who are also being tossed about. He needed to remain firmly anchored, and if he did, so much more did his readers.
There are days when secular humanism comes crashing in on our doorstep. A culture that is adopting humanity as god, and co-opting the language of Christianity in an effort to create confusion can certainly make us feel tossed about. It’s easy to think that we are somehow weak in our faith because there are days that we are shaken. That’s when these words become such an encouragement. Paul, the one who had the Damascus road encounter with Christ, was dealing with false doctrines, scheming and craftiness on a regular basis. Even Paul, was having his struggles and he was willing to admit this to those whom he had led to Christ.
Paul’s letters would eventually become a part of the New Testament canon, but at the time that they were written, they were simply letters. He and the fledgling church of the first century were trying to figure out what it meant to be Christians in their world. The ways in which they lived their lives had to be a witnesses to what it meant to follow Christ. This is why Paul would tell them to “follow me as I follow Christ.” There was no arrogance in this, but rather, the honest journey of a Christ follower who wanted to help others find the way.
So when we feel tossed about, and we are wrestling with all that is thrown our way, we are not to fear. We are to be honest, just like Paul, but then, turn our faces toward our Savior, and ask for strength in the midst of the storm. The winds will blow — that is just reality. Every now and then we may need to regroup and make sure we still know where we are standing, but then, just like Paul, we will continue to stand, even when tossed to and fro.
Lord, as this journey continues, may I continue to grow up in you, strengthened by knowing you. Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Ex. 33:4 ¶ When the people heard these harsh words, they mourned, and no one put on ornaments. Ex. 33:5 For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, and I will decide what to do to you.’” Ex. 33:6 Therefore the Israelites stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.
The people had sinned before God by making and worshiping the golden calf! They had taken their golden jewelry — the earrings and other items they had gotten from the Egyptians and used them to create an idol. Now, in an act of humility and repentance they were to take off all of their jewelry and ornaments. It was a time of mourning over their sin and it included intentional action on the part of the Israelites. Application:
We don’t do all that well with humility and repentance! It seems that we live in a time when we try to carry on…
Scripture: Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Observation:
Peter had openly declared that Jesus was the Messiah when suddenly the conversation shifted to suffering, rejection and death. With his affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, Peter had brought with him all of the connotations of that term. Jesus was to be a great military leader, a Davidic Messiah, who would save the people from the earthly authorities. Jesus’ description was a paradigm that didn’t fit into Peter’s thinking.
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was severe. The language reflects a long and unpleasant conversation. The…