Copy God's Character

Frontline Devotion for August 18, 2018 (Season of 'Time After Pentecost')

By: Don Wernly

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Ephesians 5:15-20

Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul's goal in his letter to the church at Ephesus is for them to "...understand better the dimensions of God's eternal purpose" says the Concordia Self Study Bible. For today's verses, Eerdman's Handbook to the Bible states, "Salvation is Gods free gift, but it carries with it the obligation to live and behave from that point on as God wants...In a word, we are to copy God's character."

Paul says the Ephesians should be filled with the Spirit. Think about that for a moment. Paul is writing this letter while imprisoned in Rome. In prison, Paul writes his epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon. Paul is filled with the Spirit. Not even prison can get him down. In Ephesians 2:8 Paul makes God's eternal purpose clear, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith...it is the gift of God." Because of what God has done for us, Paul wants the Ephesians and all of us to be filled with the Spirit. And with our knowledge of God's saving grace, and being filled with the Spirit, we should be radically changed.

Copy God's character. Salvation means we must behave as God wants. To do that we must copy his character. In Paul's time, he describes the days as being evil. I would like to think that human kind has evolved since then but we still see examples of bad behavior. Differences between peoples cause suspicion. Those in authority exploit their workers and all too often lead through fear. People appear to be unable to discern between what is true and what is false. Searching for whom to blame is much more important than searching for solutions. This is not behaving as God wants.

Copy God's character. To be like God is seeing value in every person. To be like God is celebrating diversity for each person is a child of God. To be like God is leading by example and encouragement. To be like God is not casting blame but working always to make things better. To be like God is always speaking the truth; and, as Stephen Minsters are taught, speaking the truth in love. To be like God is caring for his creation. To be like God is leaving the world a little better than you found it. To be like God is having a song in your heart and being filled with the Spirit.

Copy God's character. Can we do it? Certainly, with the help of God and with spirit filled hearts. After all, Paul could do it in prison.

Prayer: Father, in these troubled times help us to be filled with the Spirit. Make us see ourselves as your servant Paul in this world. No matter what comes to us, let us have a song in our hearts. And as we continue our journey here on earth, may we be a small reflection of you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.