What is this series about?
Through this series we will be studying the book of Ephesians and learning about our position in Christ, our life in the world, and our attitude toward the enemy.
Walk- Week 6
What does it really mean to believe that God loves you unconditionally and that he requires holiness from us?
Scripture Reference: Ephesians 4:17-19
You can’t live like that any more
- Asking “or what?!”- says something about you and your relationship with God.
Scripture Reference: Ephesians 4:20-24
Godliness is first about your heart
- You can build a habit, but that does not change your heart
Scripture Reference: Ephesians 4:25-32
Then about your actions
- I need God to be BIG and I need to be SMALL.
Questions to Ponder
- Why does God saying “You have to…” bother us so much?
- Why is it important to live a life of good character?
- Why does “Fake it until you make it” not work?
Don’t Focus on the Fruit
by Ben Kirksey
“Trust God, let him do the work in me He said He would do, and then be better.”
I love the way Charlie summarized what Paul has been trying to tell us with that statement. As I thought about it, it took me to John 15:5, where Jesus says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
How do we remain calm and measured when everything in us wants to respond in anger? How do we get to a place of truly considering and serving the interests of others? How do we find the wisdom to know what to do in a complex situation? Remain in Jesus.
The logic is so simple. If we remain in Jesus then we will bear fruit. If we remain in Jesus, then we will become the people Paul is describing.
Conceptually, I think we get it. But functionally, there are a couple of things we often do that we need to watch out for in our daily lives:
We need to make sure we don’t focus first on the fruit. That’s our natural tendency. We are conditioned to be results-oriented. And while that has its place, we have to understand that fruit is what is being done, not what we’re doing. It’s a byproduct of walking with God, not a product of our own effort.
We need to make sure we don’t fall into the temptation to be self-sustaining. As a branch bears fruit, the natural gravity is to fall and break away from the vine – to try to root itself. In other words, as we have some measure of success being the types of people Paul is describing, it’s easy to believe it’s our effort that is achieving that. But the branch cannot exist on its own in a productive and sustainable way. In our culture independence is rewarded. But walking with God requires the humility to admit that you are helpless without him.
How do we remain in Jesus? That speaks to our relationship with him. And relationships are not check-lists or 10-step methods; they are complex, nuanced and messy.
But to borrow from Paul, I urge you – no I insist – invest in the relationship. Get to know God through his word and prayer daily. Take the time to listen. Let these simple truths of the gospel penetrate your heart:
- God is great…so I don’t have to be in control.
- God is good…so I don’t have to be afraid.
- God is gracious…so I don’t have to prove myself.
- God is glorious…so I don’t have to look elsewhere.
We cannot manufacture the results on our own. But when we are renewed daily in our relationship with Jesus, and when we let the truths and implications of the gospel move from our heads to deep into our hearts, then the results will come. The change we long for will happen. And God will be magnified in and through our lives in an incredible way.