What defines me is not what I do, or is it the results of my decisions, and it is definitely not what others say I am. The only thing that defines me is Jesus and that goes for all of us. At the basic level of our identity, we are either His or we are not. I am a Son of the most High God and He’s still working on me conforming me to the image of His Son. If you’re a believer, remember who you are and whose you are. If you don’t know Christ, you can be made new today by simply turning to Him and surrendering your life to Him today!
Read Ephesians 1:1-14 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
I would encourage you to go and read 1 Corinthians 13 and see how God truly defines love. I think Love is one of the most important things we can live, show and give to others. And scripture backs this thought up, John 13:35 states, Love is how the world should recognize us. I love the verses of Ephesians 5:1-2 and describing and encouraging us to be imitators of God and Christ love but have you ever really looked at the Greek words.
Love Like God (vs. 1-2a) When you think and dwell on this it’s really powerful and humbling to me. Paul’s reminding us and taking us back once again to our identity. Often times, we hear people say like father like son and that is certainly true of me. I am a lot like my earthly father. Here Paul is reminding us we are God’s children and as His children, we should seek to imitate Him in love. How does God love us? The Greek word mean “love given freely without conditions.” He has chosen to love us. Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We didn’t earn it, don’t deserve it and there is no way to justify it. The world only loves those that love them but God’s love is unconditional. In other words, they love those who earn it, or deserve it. That’s not the love of God, He chooses to love us.
Love Like Christ (vs. 2b) Christ loved us so much that He willingly endured the cross. He sacrificed Himself for us. How we live our lives should be characterized by our oneness with Christ. So, Paul explained that we are to live a life filled with love for others. Our love for others should be of the same kind that Christ showed to us. Paul uses a different Greek word here meaning to love or the act of love – meaning love is action. Christ love is a love that goes beyond affection to self-sacrificing service. Christ loved us so much that he gave himself as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Christ gave himself in death as a sacrifice on our behalf. The Love we are called to is both a choice and action. Choose and Live Love today!
Read Ephesians 4:17-24. Often times the distractions of the world and life in general can have a devastating effect on our lives if we allow them. However, if you are a Believer today reading this, you don’t have to remain there. Your old self (that you are to put off) is your old programming not who you really are. You have been made new and your to walk in this newness of life in which Jesus has already done within you. You are new! As you learn Christ (grow in Him), you’ll find yourself changing your mind about everything and especially how you view the world around you. You will be “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may know what is the good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God” (see Rom_12:2).
At its core, the call to discipleship is about identity. Jesus wants us to identify ourselves first and foremost as His followers. But we tend to identify ourselves by the things of this world we most value, like our relationships, our belongings, and our jobs. Jesus doesn’t mince words in Luke 14:25-35. Following Him comes with a cost; we have to sacrifice the things of this world to be His faithful disciples. Do family commitments or other priorities ever hinder your commitment to first seek God’s will or plan for your life? Why or why not? What actions can you take to ensure that your relationship with Jesus takes precedence over all other relationships? What did Jesus mean by bearing one’s own cross and following Him (v. 27)? What costs keep people from following Jesus today? What things in your life would you find most difficult to give up for the sake of following Christ? What does “a lifestyle of sacrifice in the name of Jesus” look like?
PRAYER – Jesus, in this situation I have nothing to offer of my own ingenuity or strength; I need your wisdom and power as badly as I need the air that I breathe. As I move forward may I do so in desperate dependence on You every second. I joyfully and unreservedly confess that I am inadequate to answer Your call, in fact, I can do absolutely nothing without You. I’m not able to handle this situation on my own and any good that results must come solely through You. I simply ask You right now to flow through me, and cause me to stay out of Your way. Amen
These verses point to both the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ. In God the Father’s appointed time, He sent His Son who created the law to be under the law. The law demanded a price from those who failed to keep it, the price of death. Before we could be brought into adopted sonship, the price had to be paid. So the answer before time began, Jesus Christ entered the world as a member of the human race and paid the ultimate price which the law demanded. Because He is God, His death was sufficient to pay for all who believe. Because He was man, He could die as a substitute for man. Christ redeemed us from the law that through Him we might be adopted sons. Praise Jesus today for His work on the cross!
How are you daily living out your sonship through Christ?
PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.
If we could daily enter into the true meaning and spirit of this Psalm, every day would be Thanksgiving Day. The reason for the happiness, gladness, and praise is presented by the words: We are His. We belong to Him by right. We are also His by His choice. And His ownership. We are His flock. The great offer of praise and worship is the goodness of God, and the everlastingness of His love and truth. We cannot be satisfied with this world but can only be satisfied with the saving knowledge of who God is and how much He loves us.
What comes between you daily praising God as this Psalm directs?
PRAYER – It’s been said there is a difference between praise and thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a result of what God has done for you. Praise is about who God is. Take time today to just pray through praise focused on who God is.