Only 24 days left to the end, but who’s counting, this is fun!
Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
I can’t help but comment about the amazing insight God has given Paul!
Q. (Ephesians 3:17): By Christ making His home in our bodies — this could mean both each individual and/or the church body (right?) — makes me think of that when one allows Christ in that we become like Christ giving grace to others.
A. I wouldn’t agree that Christ making a home in our bodies, via the Spiri, refers to the Church, but is referring to the individual Christian specifically. The reason for this is the image of the Church united is the Body of Christ, not Christ within the body, if that makes sense. But your last sentence is spot on. We can become like Christ to others and share His grace with them.
O. (3:19): This verse fills my heart with pure joy as to how much He loves me and everyone else!
Q. (4:2): Once in a while I say something that I wonder if it was taken wrong by the other person. I have had my “God filter” or Spirit Sensor on more and more. But, once in a while, it’s not turned on all the way. Most of the time, I immediately catch it and make sure they knew what I meant. But, sometimes, I don’t. It’s at these times that I pray that the other person is Christian, will know my true heart, know that I am human and forgive me. This also makes me think of road rage. So many people lose their cool behind the wheel. I don’t know if this is a sign of having the Spirit or not, but we just need to always remember that we are not alone. God/Jesus/Spirit knows our hearts.
A. He does indeed, and that, I think, provides a lot of insight into the grace He provides — He sees the damage and brokenness in each of our hearts, and is sympathetic to our plight. His desire is to make us whole.
Q. (4:7-8): Are “gifts” referring to the talents we are given or referring to the gifts in v. 11 — apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers?
A. Spiritual gifts. (From Leigh An: I am a little cloudy on what a spiritual gift is, so I googled it. There are lots of sources. Here’s one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_gift
Q. (4:16): I just wondered about a symbolic relationship I had an epiphany about. If together, we are Christ’s body and He had to sacrifice for us, would that be symbolic of us having to sacrifice ourselves (earthly desires) if we want to be a part of Christ’s body? Also, I think this is a telling verse of how we should get rid of whatever is blocking us from working with others — pride, shyness, time — so we all can benefit from one another. And, it gives glory to Jesus.
A. The longer we walk with God, the more we will see the need for self-sacrifice in each of our desires — both a desire to sacrifice on behalf of other people and the need to sacrifice our own desires and “die” to ourselves. There is a reason the Church throughout history has associated Baptism with the idea of dying to self and rising to God, exactly as you have described it.
O. (4:29): “Let everything you say be good and helpful … ” is a tough one, but practice makes (nearly) perfect!
Q. (5:5-6): I have learned to be less and less greedy. But what degree of greed is bad? And, how do we measure greed? For instance, if I would like my house to be decorated nicely — not over the top by any means, but just comfortable and inspiring for my family. If we have plans to improve our yard, is that greed? Many times I think it is because it’s of this world and it’s not helping others. But, then God says two things: give 10 percent and give generously. Should we enjoy some of the fruits of our labor, or is that greed? Also, this verse has me a little concerned about my own salvation. I worry that I’m not pure enough. A trickle of impure thoughts can still go through my head. I don’t know exactly what “impure” is referring to here. I don’t have any immoral thoughts, but I can say that EVERY thought I have does not have the love of God in it.
A. Ok, first, your purity is the concern of Christ, not yours. You do your part by having faith in Christ’s ability to work through you via the Spirit, and let God worry about the rest. Remember that worry is NOT productive when it comes to our walk with God, so as much as you can, let doubts, especially about salvation, go — that’s God’s department.
Greed can be tricky to define, as it varies from person to person, but if we are faithful in our tithing and generous with our living, we should not be in danger. One of the things that we can do is seek God’s council on what is greed in our hearts, and what is just proper provision for our own needs. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of our labor, but if we have made money ITSELF the aim, that is where greed slips in. All of the deadly sins (sloth/laziness, wrath, envy, gluttony, lust, and pride are the other 6) are about abuse of good things. Money, and the desire to have it, is not evil in and of itself, but when we make an idol out of our desire for money (when we trust IT more than we trust God), then we have slipped into the deadly sin of greed. As we have mentioned in previous questions, the opposite of greed — as the Church has historically defined it — is self-sacrifice: when we give of ourselves with a clear heart, we are turning our back on being greedy. I’m afraid I can’t give you any more specifics on your particular situation, you have to work the rest out with God.
Q. (5:13): Can “light” here refer to Jesus?
A. It refers to the light of the Gospel message and the power of God.
O. (5:8): I constantly think of examples in nature that model our relationship with God. And, of course, I think He made them that way intentionally. If we know God, we can constantly be reminded of Him when we look around us. This verse talks about light v. darkness — polar opposites, so to speak. For the most part, evil lurks in the dark, where light comes along and makes it visible. And, good things come in the light. Just think how a smile makes you feel instead of a frown; how light — makes me feel anyway — v. days and days of gloom.