Occupied 3-3-16

Quest for Hope

Occupied 3-3-16

Ephesians 4:22-32

Last night, we had a great discussion about what makes a life example of saving grace; grace saves us from death into life. Grace begins the journey, grace ends the journey, and grace occupies everything in-between. Salvation is entirely something that only God can do in a heart. We should never be surprised who makes the journey with Jesus, nor when they choose to make it. Anyone who desires God can know Him by grace; it is never too late. Today, we will continue our quest for hope in the book of Ephesians as we remember to leave no room for the devil; it is “heart housecleaning time!” Let’s choose to start the process of throwing out the stuff occupying space that should not be a part of our life in Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-32 (NLT)

22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[a] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[b] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

As I am reading this passage, I realize this Word has the power to speak instruction to every heart all day long. This Word gives us a goal to hope for and the promise of grace to be successful. Truly, every Christ follower should desire to live righteously every day, but will find him/herself still struggling with personal weaknesses and “life-issues.” We all need grace to develop new thoughts and new attitudes within us. Our struggles or areas of weakness may be different, but everyone struggles with something. We may struggle with: morality, lust, exaggerating or lying to exonerate or elevate ourselves, uncontrolled or deep-seated displays of anger or bitterness (revenge or unforgiveness), stealing or taking advantage (lack of honestly or true disclosure—government supported programs/IRS/subsidies), giving our best work to every job we undertake even the small ones (being industrious), being joyfully generous to others (instead we have a priority of supplying our own wants), or throwing out foul or abusive words (negativity, curse, gossip, slander, berating, etc.) rather than encouraging words that build a person up. In the midst of the struggle, a Christ follower should pray, “God, today I am struggling with ______; please help me to overcome it by your grace.” We are sealed by the Spirit while we experience salvation—a process to learn the ways and integrity of God.

We need to look in the mirror everyday and remind ourselves that although we see a human being looking back at us, we are actually occupied with the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, we must stop giving a foothold to the devil (giving him the power to manipulate us) to live beneath the power of God. God’s grace is our hope to live in harmony with the Spirit.

Prayer: Father, thank you for this Word for my heart, today. I needed the reminder that my life is to be an accurate representation of you; you occupy me. Although I would like to think I live righteously before you, I know in my next moment I may need to choose to press in for more grace because the enemy is busy trying to rob, steal, and destroy those on salvation’s road to eternal living. Stay with me Holy Spirit! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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