This week’s blog article and podcast recording are taken from a sermon recently delivered at Euharlee Baptist Church.
How often are you left asking yourself or asking God through prayer how to actually live out your relationship with Jesus? Much like the questions that have haunted me regarding how to fulfill my biblical responsibilities as the spiritual leader of my family, I often find myself asking how to I generally live our my faith in Christ. How do I ensure that the world around me is aware that I have a close relationship with Jesus Christ?
As usually, the answer to life’s perplexing questions can be found in the Bible. In Ephesians 5, Paul gives us a rather thorough bullet list of ways that we can live out our faith in Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-21 (HCSB)
15Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk — not as unwise people but as wise — 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit: 19speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, 20giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.
Let’s dive into these verses to investigate the 7 ways to live out our relationship with Jesus…
First, let’s acknowledge that Paul makes the assumption that we are walking a faithful Christian walk. He doesn’t allow for any excuses or rest period. You can see the expectations of Paul in the first few words of verse 15. Paul expects those of us that proclaim a relationship with Jesus to walk through life according to that proclamation. So how do we do that?
Walk With Wisdom (v. 15)
The second half of verse 15 says we must walk with wisdom, not as the unwise. The ultimate source of our wisdom must be the Bible. There are countless books on the market today that provide a wealth of wisdom. Many of the best books will reference the Bible as the ultimate source. Reading contemporary books is wonderful, but do not do so at the expense of time reading the Bible.
Walk With Urgency (v. 16)
Verse 16 tells us that we must make the best use of every minute of every day. We must apply the same sense of urgency that we feel with a deadline at work to our Christian walk. We must apply the same sense of urgency we feel when trying to get the family loaded in the car for an appointment for which are already late. Why should we be so urgent? Paul says it is because each day are filled with evil. Satan is prowling around constantly seeking to destroy lives.
Walk According to God’s Will (v. 17)
This trips many of us up. Because we don’t feel we know God’s exact will for us at this very moment, we use this as an excuse to do nothing. Paul doesn’t give us this freedom or excuse when he tells us to walk in God’s will. The Bible gives us all the general revelations of His will that we need to walk in His will. There is certainly a time and place to be concerned about God’s specific will for our individual lives, but we must start our walk with what we know of God’s will that is found in the Bible.
Walk Soberly (v. 18)
I take a hard line regarding alcohol – total abstinence. I also believe the Bible supports me in this stance. However, total abstinence is not the point that Paul is making in verse 18. Paul is simply saying that we must avoid the use of alcohol to the extent it hinders wisdom. When intoxicated, people tend to make dumb decisions and take reckless actions as Paul mentions. Instead of being filled with wine, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Walk In Worship (v. 19)
Worship is often confused with the few songs that are sang in church at the beginning of a Sunday service. To make it more confusing, we often refer to Sunday church services as worship services. Worship happens within individuals we express our heart to the Lord as mentioned in verse 19. The Bible never mentions the church will be a house of worship. Jesus said the church was to be a house of prayer. When addressing worship, Jesus told the Samaritan lady at the well the people would worship in their hearts (John 4).
Walk With Gratitude (v. 20)
In verse 20, Paul tells us that we are to always give God thanks for everything. The key words in this verse are always and everything. In fact, it’s those two words that make this so difficult. Paul doesn’t give us the right the be thankful sometimes – no, he said always. Paul doesn’t give us the right to be thankful for only the good things in our life – no, he said everything.
Walk In Harmony (v. 21)
Finally we get to verse 21 and we stumble upon what might be the most hated word in the Bible – submission. Paul demands that we submit to one another in the fear of Christ. Submission is simply not natural for any of us. Submission as used by Paul means to put the needs of others ahead of your own needs. Living out our relationship with Jesus will require that we place the needs of others ahead of our on needs just as Christ did.
So there you have it, seven ways that Paul says we can live out this Christian faith that we proclaim. I close with an explanation and recommendation of a book by Bobby Conway. The book is entitled “The Fi5th Gospel”. In his book, Bobby Conway contends that their exists 5 Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, & the Christian. The troubling reality regarding these 5 Gospels is that most people will never read the first four. However, people read the fifth gospel each time the encounter you and me. Are you living a life that leads people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? How do you ensure that you abide by Paul’s list found in Ephesians 5? Share you thoughts and comments regarding living out the Christian faith below.