The Way - Day 142 (Ephesians 6)

Daily Reading:
Ephesians 6
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
In which of the relationships Paul highlighted- with God, your spouse, your parents, your children, or in the workplace- do you find it most challenging to submit to and respect? Why? What step can you take to practice biblical submission in that area of your life this week?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 51:16-17
OPTION 2: Proverbs 18:24
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:12-13
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Ephesians 6 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Ephesians 6:1-9
I love how Paul continues his teaching on submission as a result of being filled with the Spirit, especially since he applies it to every group that may be reading this letter. He has already dealt with submission/love in marriage and now he moves on to how being submissive looks in the life of a child. Instead of messing around, Paul goes straight to the heart of the issue - "children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." A child can tell if he or she is being controlled by the Holy Spirit if obedience to parents is characteristic of his or her life. Paul's instruction is very plain...obeying parents is the right thing to do. In a society that disregards the wisdom and instruction of parents, children who are followers of Christ should distinguish themselves from the world by giving honoring mom and dad. Honoring is an attitude of the heart where a child is obeying not only in action (6:1) but also in attitude (6:2). Some kids obey with their feet, but not with their heart and God is interested in obedience which stems from the heart. Paul also reminds children of the promise of long life to those who follow this commandment (6:3). In the same vein, Paul turns to the father (and mother) commanding them to not "provoke your children to wrath...." Provoking children is when a parent puts unreasonable demands on a child and rules with fear rather than love. I've often heard that rules without love/attention leads to rebellion, but rules with love/attention lead to respect. Rather than controlling their children parents are responsible to "bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Parents should never leave spiritual instruction to a church or school, but should personally take responsibility for teaching their children to love and fear the Lord. In Ephesians 6:5-9 Paul turns his attention to the workplace. How does being filled with the Spirit look when I am at my job? First, Paul directs his attention to employees. Employees should obey their bosses and give them the respect they deserve (6:5). Ephesians 6:6 also reminds them to work hard even when the boss is not around to observe their work. Paul uses the expression "eyeservice" and "men-pleasers" to describe this type of employee. He also challenges employees to have the right view of who they are working ultimately reflects doing the will of God realizing He will reward us when we work hard even when no one is around to see (6:6b-8). Before closing his thoughts on submission, Paul gives some instruction to employers in Ephesians 6:9. Paul writes for masters to "do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him." Employers and employees should treat each other with respect. Submission is obviously a big part of being filled with the Spirit and we should examine how we are measuring up to Paul's instruction in this passage. Are you being a submissive wife? Are you being a loving husband? Are you being an obedient child? Are you imposing unreasonable demands on your children? Are you working hard at your job even when the boss is not there to see you? Are you treating your employees with respect?

Ephesians 6:10-24
Paul closes this letter with some encouragement for his readers and careful instruction on how to combat the attacks of Satan. Paul knew that Satan would be ready to destroy this unity about which he had written. Throughout the ages, Satan has used racism and judgmentalism to divide the body of Christ and now that Jew and Gentile were one through Jesus Christ, the church would be under attack. It is with this in mind that Paul writes to warn his readers to "be strong in the Lord and the power of His might." Defending against these attacks would take Christians putting "on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." The "wiles of the devil" are the strategies and schemes which he uses in order to cause the believer to stumble. So, what does Paul mean by the armor of God? He mentions six pieces of spiritual armor a Christian needs to have as a part of his or her life. The first piece of armor is the girdle (belt) of truth (6:14a). In combat a soldier wore loose-fitting clothes, which could be dangerous since fighting was mostly hand to hand, so the man needed to use a belt to draw in the extra clothing. This belt of truth symbolizes a soldier being committed to truth or truthfulness which ultimately brings freedom. When a person is truthful there is no reason to be ashamed. The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness which protects the heart (6:14b). When we are holy and obedient to God it protects us from the attacks of Satan. Next, Paul commands the Christian to have his feet shod with the gospel of peace (6:15). Feet often symbolize stability and it is the gospel which gives us confidence and peace with God. The fourth piece of armor is the "shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Trust in God and His promises will cause us to not become discouraged. Satan tries to bring temptations into our life which cause us to doubt God's promises. The helmet of salvation refers to protecting our mind against Satan's attacks on our salvation. At times we all have doubts about our salvation, but remember that it is not based in feeling but fact. The last piece of armor is the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." The truth of scripture enables us to defend against Satan's attacks so it is necessary for us to fill our mind with it. Prayer plays a major role in strength for the Christian and Paul asks that believers pray for each other and also him as he spreads the gospel (6:18-20). These last few verses of Ephesians are a great challenge to both Jew and Gentile who are one in Jesus Christ to be alert to the attacks of Satan, but realize God provides the strength for us to withstand him. Put on your spiritual armor and combat the evil world around you by living life by God's principles and truth.

Dear God, help me to stand against the attacks of Satan and be light in a dark world.