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June 6 | Ephesians 4:16-32


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION

by Mary Kate Hipp


While I was studying abroad in the middle east, I was given three simple rules for safety purposes: 1) do not wander, 2) do not cross any borders, and 3) do not step on any landmines. Each of these rules was entirely serious and necessary. What is interesting about these rules though is that truly all communicate the same thing: do not wander, do not leave the flock. They are just restated in different ways for the sake of clarity. I think Ephesians 4:16-32 is a list of rules with a similar message.

In this passage, Paul lays out rules or instructions for Christian living. Since we are one body that lives to glorify God, these are the ways Christians ought to live. Paul gives much background here, talks about our "old selves" and then describes actions we ought to abstain from. At the heart of his message though is this: submit to God and His holiness.


I am a rule follower to the core. I need rules in my life to function. I like step-by-step plans. I want to know how far I can go. As a teenager, I wished the Bible would lay out clear dos and don'ts for Christian living. I wished there were "up-to-date" rules. I understand now that Scripture clearly does lay out these "rules" for us: submit to God and His holiness. Submitting to God and His holiness looks like not being angry and sinning, ridding selves of malice, speaking wholesome talk only, and all else that Paul writes. Submitting to God and His holiness also looks like daily surrendering your will, your thoughts, and your actions to Him. Like a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105) He lights our path when we submit to Him and His holiness. Sure, a long list of explicitly stated rules could be helpful for our understanding. But in the end, all rules reflect this one command of the Lord: submit to Him and His holiness.


So today may you submit to Him and His holiness. May all that you do, be done for His glory.


PRAYER PRACTICE

Quiet yourself before the Lord. Focus on your breathing. As you breathe out, exhale your fleshly desires and anything that distracts you. As you inhale, repeat this request: "May I submit to You today." Then praise God for all that He is, then spend time in confession, then thanking God for all He has done and will do, and finally present your requests to God.


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