In Part II of Multiply we read about “Life in the Church”. We learn about how things are supposed to be. Unfortunately, we also learn about all the things we have not done right and what we may be struggling with now.
I want to make sure that we don’t skip over this section, but I also feel this is a section where we can begin to pull away. Where we may feel a bit ashamed and maybe even guilty about how we have acted in the past. It is one thing to read a book written by Francis Chan, John Piper, or others and just avoid the touchy areas. But in this chapter we were told to read Ephesians chapter 4:1-16. There is just something about the conviction of the bible that makes the pain a bit more gripping. In just the first three verses, we almost get to the point of closing the book…
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. – Ephesians 4:1-3
Wow, right off the bat. Paul just gets right in our face. “lead a life worthy of your calling”, “be humble and gentle”, “be patient with each other”, “build yourselves together with peace”. Ahhh. Really? I am so not worthy of being in this line. I have screwed up so many times in my life. I have been so prideful and selfish that I was a far cry from being humble and gentle. I have been impatient, demanding and just like a little child.
There are sections in the bible like this that just gives me that urge to slide away. To just get distracted and find something else to do. But you know what I have learned? It is all about my approach to the situation.
What I have learned is that “we all fall short of the glory of God”, Romans 3:23. That we are not perfect. The other thing that I have learned is that the reason I tend to do my own thing and miss this mark is that I have too much “I” in it. I am selfish, I am independent. I deserve…, I was hurt, I, I, I. What we have learned is that I need to reduce the focus on me and increase the focus on Him. Remember, it is Christ in us that provides us the power, to do well.
We need to allow Christ in us to rise up and shine through. Let us pull the basket off our lamp and let His light shine. We have all failed in the attempt at being perfect, and thankfully, that is not what he requires. Use the scripture as a challenge and inspiration. Use it as a goal, strive daily to be transformed. Don’t hold on to your old ways, but allow Him to move in ways you cannot even imagine.
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. – 1 Peter 4:1-4
Don’t spend the rest of your life chasing your own desires. Haven’t you done that long enough? You have proven that mentality does not work. Be anxious to do the will go God. Be excited about the adventure that He has in store for you. Don’t let your past influence your future!
I want to reiterate one more time that I believe this section of the Multiply book is some of the best commentary that I have read in many years. Here is the video, audio link and the pdf file for this section about the church one more time.
Here is the video clip for Part II: Living as the Church….
If you want to listen to the chapter in MP3 format, grab that here: MP3 for Chapter 4
If you want to read the chapter in PDF format, grab that here: Chapter 4 pdf file