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'A Year with Jesus' for 10/22/2014
Displaying Your Father's Character & Compassion
Note from Jesus
Dear Precious Disciple,
As for you, don’t you remember how you used to just exist? Corpses, dead in life, buried by transgressions, wandering the course of this perverse world. You were the offspring of the prince of the power of air — oh, how he owned you, just as he still controls those living in disobedience.But Paul went on to say that the Father didn't just save you FROM this dead existence in bondage; he also saved you FOR a life of goodness and blessing:
For we are the product of His hand, heaven's poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.In the second half of Paul's letter to these Ephesian Christians — and to their brothers and sisters in Christ living in other parts of Asia Minor — Paul described the character and compassion of the Father that must characterize their lives, and yours. Paul emphasized the old way of life of bondage should no longer characterize them — notice the underlined phrases in the verses below. They should take on the new way of life, a life that clearly reflects the nature of the Father who re-created them for this new life — especially note the phrases in bold in the verses below. One sentence from Paul sums up this emphasis well:
[A]lthough you were once the personification of darkness, you are now light in the Lord.The motivation for this new way of living comes from what the Father did to re-create you, the price I paid to redeem you, and the power the Spirit supplies to energize this new life. You are a child of the Father, a child of light; so step out of the darkness and live in ways that reflect the light — character and compassion of your Father. Go back and read Matthew's collection of My teachings on the mountain — called Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7. Notice how the things I said there are emphasized by Paul in a slightly different way.
Your motivation for this new way of living is not a matter of obeying a set of rules or laws but of honoring your Father for what He has done for you and remembering the price I paid to redeem you. As Paul said to the Ephesians, "So imitate God. Follow Him like adored children, and live in love as the Anointed One loved you — so much that He gave Himself as a fragrant sacrifice, pleasing God." Let the world see your family resemblance to the Father!
Verses to Live
At first glance, you can view the following consecutive passages from Ephesians as a Christian set of laws. However, Paul's emphasis on old life versus new life and on imitating the Father should remind you that this is about your relationship to God as Father, to Me as your older brother, and to the Spirit as the indwelling presence of Our family nature. This nature should "Spirit-naturally" come to life in you and produce this kind of fruit in your life (Galatians 5:16-23 shares a similar understanding). Let your family resemblance shine through you in all you do!
Therefore, as a witness of the Lord, I insist on this: that you no longer walk in the outsiders' ways — with minds devoted to worthless pursuits. They are blind to true understanding. They are strangers and aliens to the kind of life God has for them because they live in ignorance and immorality and because their hearts are cold, hard stones. And now, since they've lost all natural feelings, they have given themselves over to sensual, greedy, and reckless living. They stop at nothing to satisfy their impure appetites.
Response in Prayer
Father God, thank You for redeeming me and saving me from a fruitless life of sin and death while being enslaved to the forces that are seeking to destroy all that is good in the world. I pray that I remember Your great love, Jesus' great sacrifice, and the Spirit's great power so that Your righteous character and gracious compassion will shine through in my life and lead people to glorify You, my dear Father in heaven, my beloved Jesus, and the Holy Spirit Who is my guarantee of glory. This I pray through the intercession of the Holy Spirit and in the name of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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