"… Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Key point: As leaders in Christ's Body, we must be morally true. We must have a deep penetrating desire for real Truth and teach that Truth with passion and conviction, with clarity and love. We are to think and inspire others about Christ and consider what we have in Him to experience our new lives!
We must carefully and passionately listen to our Lord's instructions so we live and work in and for Him and not in the ways of the world lest we think like people who love to sin. If we are of the world--thinking as people who are "ok" with sin--dark thoughts will be ours. Dark thoughts become dark behaviors. This way of life leads only to chaos, lives upset, and regret with all the consequences. This is life apart from God. This is life away from God. People, our people will think and act in darkness have hardened their hearts; until they are convicted. They do not seek God as their eyes are turned only on "pleasures" and desires; they become filled with things like greed and immorality, and they lose real compassion and kindness. This is not how and why our Lord came to set us free! Christ, Our Savior, did not die and rise so that we would just sin more!
What we exemplify and teach is that we have been given a gift that transforms our lives! Thus, let us act like it with His Truth and not the world's wicked ways. We can, by His empowerment, remove our old lives of sin and replace our mindset and actions with His principles that give us a better, more fulfilling life. This is akin to removing filthy rotten rags and putting on the finest clothes. Wearing our finest clothes, wearing the love and gratitude we have for Christ, creates better attitudes and character. This demonstrates to others who we are in Christ--holy people created and called by a Holy God. This holy life strives to be and is free from dysfunction, deceit, and depression. In this, we can treat others with respect and practice our faith with fruitfulness and character. We can control our thoughts, words, and behaviors so we do not let our anger get out of control or fester. We can keep ourselves from sin and distractions, fighting, irritation, unforgiveness, being mean or bitter, all that we would be useful and productive for the Kingdom, and not bow to the devil.
What we exemplify and teach is that the Church must share and help one another! We are to work as a community in love, so we do not hurt the Holy Spirit. We can forgive and move on and be the people we are called to be, as we are sealed by Christ's redemption!
What we exemplify and teach is our life of God! Our redemption also gives us an understanding, to think, and to have a desire for real Truth, so we teach trust and not what is false. We are to think about Christ and consider what we have in Him to experience our new lives. We can sin and live and teach as we please, but what will that get us or our church? Paul emphatically fights this heinous notion (Col. 1:9; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2)!
What we exemplify and teach is that we are forgiven because of Christ! His righteousness is what covers you, not because of your deeds or performance. You are unique and complete in Him; and because of this, you are a special person whom God loves and will use to further impact His kingdom. He does this for all of who are His.
How to I apply these truths from Ephesians? Realize that God loves you and accepts you more powerfully, passionately, purposefully, and deeply than you could ever fathom! You are secure. God "guarantees" you with a clear, powerful, loving, impacting, and lasting relationship with Him. When you are in Christ, God is pleased with you! You have no need to fear; you are a person of deep value and worth before our Lord!
How do we do this in a life of hardship, setbacks, pushbacks, busyness and uncertainty? Simply by allowing the Word--Christ's presence--to dwell in us, and learn His instruction, so the peace of Christ will rule in our hearts and minds and translate into our actions. To lead others, is all about our spiritual growth impacting us so it impacts those around us positively and in love. So, we have some place to lead others by our example, as we point to Christ. The key is to know that Christ is sufficient, so we can trust in Him--trust in Him alone (Carefully, read all of Eph. 4)!
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/