InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Read | Ephesians 5:18-21
Be Imitators of God
1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 3But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
14For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Marriage Like Christ and the Church
22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body. 31FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
Although God wants every believer to be filled with the Spirit, many Christians are not sure what this means or what it looks like. To help us understand that whatever fills us controls us, Paul cites drunkenness as a negative example of “filling” and tells us to avoid it. Every believer is indwelt by God’s Spirit, but the extent of His rule is determined by the Christian’s freedom to comply.
Think of this as a voluntary choice to surrender your life to the Holy Spirit’s control—in other words, to be sensitive to His leadership and guidance, obedient to His promptings, and dependent upon His strength. The evidence of the Spirit’s control is revealed in a person’s character. Those who have yielded their lives to Christ’s leadership are continually being transformed into His likeness. The degree of surrender determines the level of transformation.
Even though good works and faithful service are a result of being filled with the Spirit, they are not necessarily signs of it. Remember, we are talking about character, not what we do. It’s easier to serve the Lord in some manner than to love the unlovable or be patient with difficult people. But when the Spirit is in charge of our lives, He does through us what we cannot do for ourselves.
Each believer decides who rules his life, by either actively surrendering to Christ or deliberately going his own way. Even those who try to avoid the issue by making no choice at all unknowingly opt for self-rule. The fullness of the Spirit and godly character await those who choose God over self.