Monday, June 7, 2010

Ephesians - 4:17-19

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Ephesians. Paul gives us some wonderful guidance in this book for Christian living. My favorite verses on marriage are in the 5th chapter of Ephesians. I want to spend some time looking at these valuable verses.

I’m going to start in the 4th chapter, though, because the suggestions here for individuals are necessary for a healthy marriage.

Ephesians 4: 17-19 “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”

Does this sound like the state of our society or what? You could replace the word “Gentiles” with “people who aren’t walking with God.” I wish I could use the words, “non-Christians” or “non-churched” instead of the latter, but unfortunately, there are too many so-called Christians who live this way.

I have become friends with two pastors from Africa via the Internet. I’ve mentioned one of them before and used some of his writings. Whenever I read their emails and look at their pictures they send me, I am completely awed by their faith and their love of God.

Life is tough in Africa. They don’t have the luxuries that we do, yet their relationship with God is ever present. It IS their life. They pray for my ministry every day when they live in a land of poverty, illness and no freedom to express their beliefs. They ask what they can do for me, or pray about for me. I wish I could say that I thought to pray for them every day. I’m working on it. I am humbled by their love. All they do is for the glory of God and to bring others into His fold.

That is secondary to most of us (if even that far up on our priorities.) We have all become so caught up in “living” in this world, and believing that 15 minutes to an hour with God per day is all we need. Many live on only a Sunday morning church fix as their time for God.  I’m ashamed when I look at what these African men are achieving with nothing more than their passion to do it. I have a list of excuses why my ministry is growing so slowly - a list of worldly distractions.

It makes me want to get rid of everything and go to Africa. Money, things, our activities, our families and friends, all get in the way of why God put us here.

Verse 19 says, “they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”

We immediately think that Paul is talking about sexual impurities here, but he’s talking about sin. Putting anything before your relationship with God - material things, money, activities, friends, family - is a sin.

I see how busy everyone is and I wonder how anyone has time for God. I have church friends I’ve been trying to get together with for a year or more. No one has the time.

If you want a healthy marriage, you must first have a healthy relationship with God. Get your feet out of the world and begin to focus on His desires for your life.

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