In his epistles, Paul gives us lots of practical help. He first takes time to explain our identity in Christ, but then talks about what that means for us living our day-to-day lives. Ephesians is a great example of this. The first 3 chapters deal with who we are in Christ, and the last 3 chapters deal with how we walk it out.

When it comes to practical application of these truths, a great exercise is to read chapters 4-6 in one sitting, always keeping in mind who we are in Christ. With that attitude, it’s easy to see Paul’s words not as commands, but rather as a natural outworking of our spirit. Let’s take a few verses as examples and see how this can work.

Chapter 4 starts with “therefore,” showing that this is a response to chapters 1-3. And right away, he talks about out interpersonal relationships. Eph 4:2-3 (NLT) says “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.”

Rather than looking at this as: “YOU MUST BE HUMBLE AND GENTLE AND PATIENT!…” think of it as, “Since God has united us with Himself and with each other, it only makes sense to be gentle, humble and patient. We want to work together in unity and harmony because that’s who we are – one body. And since no one is perfect, I ask you to make allowance for the times I fail, and I will do the same for you. Hey, we’re in this together – Let’s make it work!

Looking a little further on, Eph 4:25-27 (NLT) says, “So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

Here again, look at it in context of our being in Christ – united with God and will one another. “Of course we wouldn’t want to lie to ourselves, so obviously we wouldn’t want to lie to one another (since we are one); rather we want to be truthful so we can have an open, thriving relationship. And for the same reason, I need to control my temper. If I explode at you, how are we going to work together in peace? We want to do God’s work together, and we don’t want the devil sneaking in messing things up. So let’s keep it above board and talk things through honestly.

This is walking in Christ!

 

Consider:

Take some time and read through the rest of Ephesians with this attitude. You can get a whole new view of the Christian life!