"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Respect & Honor (Ephesians 5/6)

The fall small group study on the book of Ephesians is coming to a close. What began with an overview of God's grace and an understanding of who we are "in Christ" (chapters 1-3), has been followed by several weeks of practical application and an understanding of how we can live "for Christ" (chapters 4-6). It is with this idea of living out our faith that we spend the final few weeks focusing on Paul's encouragement to families and Christian relationships.

To fully comprehend this passage, it's important to keep in mind that Paul has already spoken of our need to be different. God's grace, a gift that we have received, has enabled us to speak and act differently. There are several examples of this in chapter 4. Now, Paul moves to how we should behave in the most intimate of relationships, those for which we spend most of our time; marriage, children/parent and our work. Those too should be different.

As you read through these verses, I think you will find a few central themes; respect and honor top the list.  Beginning with Ephesians 5:21 "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ," Paul makes clear the need for mutual respect when it comes to the husband and wife. Why? Because of the gift that God has provided, and who we now are in Christ, respect should be a natural response. In fact, when respect is mutual and submission is shared, scriptures call for a wife's submission (as the church unto Christ) and the husband's love (as Christ gave up Himself for the church) will create the foundation of a healthy, loving and joy-filled marriage. One that might even appear to be different.

Similarly, the relationship between parents and children is one that is built on respect and honor.  Though the roles are much different, a child is to honor his/her parents by way of obedience and care, not just as a youth, but throughout adulthood. Likewise, parents are to nurture, instruct and cherish their children, all the while providing discipline and guidance.  We are called on to be reasonable, consistent, present, controlled, patient, gentle and non-abusive. In these ways we will not exasperate our children; Ephesians 6:4.

Finally, we spend much of our time at work and Ephesians 6:5-9 speaks to the attitude that we should carry with us.  Whether that is towards our boss or our employees.  In either situation we are to respect the other. As employees we respect our superiors by working with "sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ" - Ephesians 6:5. In positions of authority, we are also called to respect by not threatening and by remembering that in God's eyes we are all equal, "there is no favoritism with Him," - Ephesians 6:9.

There is so much more to discuss within this passage, with good questions and background detail to explore. We have had some great discussions the past few weeks and I look forward to this Wednesday for even more.

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