Living in the Tension

tensionIf I were to describe my life in one word I would say, “Tension.” I am constantly torn between what I want and what I know God wants.

Let’s face it we all live in the tension.  We are constantly being torn between following our heart or following the heart of Christ. This tension is the reality of every follower of Jesus. The testing ground is most prominently played out through how this tension is revealed in relationship to our family, others, and self.

How do we find peace in the midst of this tension? The defining factor is determined by which heartbeat gives us life.  This is not a new phenomenon.  This is a tension that existed in the Garden of Eden and is lived out in the pages of history.

The Church in Ephesus was a victim of this tension as well. In this book Paul establishes a foundation that coaches the church toward a deeper understanding, knowledge, and lifestyle based on who God says they are and defining their role in sharing the gospel. Below is a brief outline and commentary on what Ephesians 2 teaches the Church of Ephesus.  My hope is that these truths will be transferable, practical, and insightful into your own faith journey.

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EPHESIANS 2

  1. WHO WE ARE WITHOUT GOD – Ephesians 2:1-3
  2. WHAT THE LOVE OF GOD DID – Ephesians 2:4-6
  3. WHY GOD LOVES US – Ephesians 2:7
  4. HOW GOD LOVES US – Ephesians 2:8-9
  5. CHRIST BRINGS US TO GOD – Ephesians 2:11-13
  6. CHRIST IS OUR PEACE – Ephesians 2:14-16
  7. PART OF THE FAMILY – Ephesians 2: 17-19
  8. HEALTHY FAMILY – Ephesians 2:20-21
  9. WE ARE THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD – Ephesians 2:22

Without God we are children of wrath dead in sin destined to pursue the passions of our flesh and mind (2:1-3). God’s love places us with Christ.  As Christians we are together with Christ, there is not a moment that we are without, hidden, separated, misplaced, or alone (2:4-6). God loves us to show the immeasurable riches of his grace (2:7). God loves us by giving us purpose in Christ. Not purpose for Christ, not purpose because of Christ, and not purpose to become like Christ…purpose in Christ. Our purposes in Christ are revealed by a sphere of moral actions that reveals the very nature of God (2:8-9). The alienated are brought near to God in Christ Jesus – The Messiah.  God sends Jesus to have Jesus bring us to God (2:11-13). Knowing we are all reconciled to God through Christ brings peace, but our peace is more than that, Jesus is peace, without Him there is no peace (2:14-16). The life of Christ “welds” us into the family of God giving us access to the Father and all other members of the family (2: 17-19). The foundational and structural fabric that characterizes family grows holy through the Lord (2:20-21) Out of all that God has created – being with us, in us, and expressing himself through us is where he longs to reside. In Christ we have been transformed into a vessel worthy of the indwelling Spirit of God (2:22).

FURTHER EXPLORATION OF THE SCRIPTURE

As we look at the scriptures today you can spend more time focusing on what God desires to share with you. Approach the word of God three distinct ways.

Read the scripture:

Read the word with an open mind.  Take your presupposition, cultural bias, and agendas and lay them at the feet of Christ.  Approach the word like it is a living, breathing being and listen to what is read.

Receive the scripture:

Receiving the scripture opens the heart, mind, and soul to obtain the Holy Spirit’s insight and direction.  To receive what He is sharing through the Word the reader must learn to hear His voice. Take your time and be still, opened, and relaxed to hear from God.

Respond to the scripture:

Responding to the scripture demands action.  Movement toward the Lord and His ways is the only byproduct that transforms the heart and allows God to continue to teach what His scriptural intentions are.  A proper response to God’s word never leaves the reader the same.

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