In these 8 lines we see the writer’s passion for God. He asks God to give him life, to teach him His statutes and to give understanding of His precepts. He asks God for strength and to teach him His law. We should pray that God’s Spirit would generate this passion in us! The writer makes choices to put false ways aside, to learn God’s rules, to cling to His testimonies and to run in the way of God’s commands. (The ‘New Life’ discussed in Ephesians 4 below.)
Think of the action words he uses: Put Aside, Learn, Cling, Run. I especially like Cling and Run. I think of a child holding tight to his parent and running when he hears his Father call. May we, as children of God, do the same.
Verses 1-16 Unity in the Body of Christ
In these verses, Paul calls us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. Humility, Gentleness, Patience, Love – these words describe not only how we are to live, but who we are to be. We are one body with one Spirit, one Hope, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all. Yet, though we are one in many ways, God has also given each of us particular gifts that benefit the church.
Jesus took on a human nature and lowered Himself to serve us. We are to do the same. His death on the cross set us free and we can now use the gifts given each of us to build up the body of Christ. We are, through the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to adulthood in Him. As grown children of God, we are not tossed to and fro by false doctrine, human cunning and deceitful schemes.
We are to speak the truth IN LOVE and grow up to Him who is the head – Christ. The whole body is held together by Him and when we do as He equipped us to do, the body grows in love. There is no room for selfish agendas in these verses.
Verses 17-32 The New Life
Paul uses VERY strong words in these verses to tell us to no longer walk in sinful ways – in futility. He uses the words: Darkened, Alienated, Ignorant, Hard Hearted, Calloused, Sensual, Greedy, Impure, Corrupt, Deceitful. These all describe separation from God – NOT the way of Christ. We are to put off our ‘Old Self’ as describe above and put on the ‘New Self’.
The ‘New Self’ is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. We put away falsehood and speak truth. We do not sin in our anger and we do not let the sun go down on our anger. We do not steal, we do honest work. We do not speak with corruption, but only what is good for building up. We do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, who has sealed us. Bitterness, wrath, anger , clamor, slander and malice are to go. Instead we are to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving – just as Christ forgave us.
I feel Ephesians 4 is like a spiritual compass for each of us to examine ourselves by daily. If we find we are behaving in an ‘Old Self’ manner, we need to immediately pray and ask Jesus for help that we may remember who we are in Him and the ‘New Self’ He give us. When we have offended God and likely hurt others by ‘Old Self’ bad behavior, we need to seek forgiveness and continue to move forward into the ‘New Life’ the Holy Spirit helps us to live. His Word is our greatest help in becoming more like Him. — Mary Mauderer