Today’s reading:  Ephesians 6, Philippians 1

Paul begins the book of Ephesians thanking God for the spiritual blessings he has given us – plans to adopt us into his family, showers us with loving kindness, purchased our freedom with the blood of Jesus, and gave us the Holy Spirit as a helper (Ephesians 1:3-14).  The blessings of family membership, however, also come with responsibility, especially in our relationships with other people.  The end of Ephesians 5 and the beginning of Ephesians 6 take us through a handful of our most significant relationships:  husbands and wives, children and parents, slaves and masters (applicable to employee/employer relationships also).

The main idea of this whole section is, if our faith in Christ is real, it should show up in how we treat others.

  • Wives should submit to their husbands as you do to the Lord.
  • Husbands should love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
  • Children should honor their parents regardless if they are good parents or not.
  • Parents should care for their children even if they are disrespectful/disobedient.
  • Employees should respect their employers and work hard as if they were working for the Lord.
  • Employers should respect their employees and treat them well.

This sounds so much easier than it is.  When others wrong us, it is so hard to turn the other cheek, not seek revenge and keep from holding a grudge.  Fortunately as Christfollowers, we are not left to our own devices.  Accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord gets us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us live this way.  It is only with his help that we have any chance at coming close to God’s relationship standards.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).

While this verse is written in the context of husbands and wives, it is the key to honoring God in every relationship we have.  Submission is simply putting someone else’s needs in front of your own.  Soak on this today.  How different would our world be if we lived up to this standard more often?