One Anothering One Another

This week, as we continued our series, Married for Good, we started getting practical. What does it look like to get marriage right as followers of Jesus? In order to answer this question, we jumped headfirst into one of the most challenging – and misunderstood – passages about marriage in the entire New Testament. On this day for spooks and chills, this idea puts fear in the hearts of not a few couples. We’re talking about Paul’s words to the Ephesian believers which include the command for wives to submit to their husbands. Joy me this week and next as we work to make sense out of this, and to see how getting it right is a key to getting marriage right.

One Anothering One Another

Have you ever misunderstood something? There’s a difference between not understanding something and misunderstanding something. In the former instance, we have genuinely not grasped the details of some matter. Our acting in a manner inconsistent with it is out of pure ignorance. What’s more, this is often a known ignorance on our part. We understand that we don’t understand and can do something about that. Often, in this case, more time learning and gaining information about it will be the solution to the problem. But when we misunderstand something, the problem is deeper. In this case, we often think we do understand whatever it is. We think we understand, but in understanding it incorrectly, we react to it in ways that are inconsistent with reality. And, because we fail to grasp that we don’t understand it, attempts to correct us will often be rebuffed. They may even lead us to double down on our misunderstanding. It takes a lot of patience and often a lot of time to correct a misunderstanding. Well, this morning, we are going to start looking at something the apostle Paul said that is frequently misunderstood. We are going to see if we can set the misunderstandings to the side—both those of others and perhaps of ourselves as well—and get at what Paul is really trying to say. 

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 6:14-18 (Part 2)

“Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit–which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We are in the midst of a conversation about the armor of God that Paul describes at the tail end of his letter to the Ephesian church. In the first part (here), we looked at the background of the battle for which we need this armor. Our battle is not against people. Ever. And our tactics are to be focused on resistance, not being offensive. We hold ground God has won and advance the kingdom by the means of love. Yesterday, then, we started talking about the armor itself. We covered the first three pieces–the belt (truth), breastplate (righteousness), and footwear (the Gospel of peace). This morning, let’s look at the next three pieces.

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Digging in Deeper: Ephesians 6:11-13

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Following Jesus in this world is to become acquainted with battle. This is because following Jesus means advancing the kingdom of God while living in the kingdom of this world. Advancing the kingdom of one ruler from within the kingdom of another is asking for a fight. And indeed, a fight is what we will face if we do it consistently and well. That means when you sign up to follow Jesus, you are signing up to be a warrior. One thing every warrior needs is armor. Armor protects you and allows you to sustain attacks that would otherwise wipe you out. Because the battle we are in as followers of Jesus is not like other battles, though, neither can our armor be. Let’s talk this morning about our armor and the nature of our battle.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Who is your enemy? Now maybe you’re saintly enough that your response to that question is some version of, “I don’t have any enemies.” Granting that, who comes closest to that status for you? If you’re at all like a growing segment of our society, the answer just may be the people on the other side of the political aisle. In our hyper-partisan times, political rivals are among the most bitter enemies we have. The latest entry from Marvel Studios offers an important counterpoint to this decidedly unhealthy trend. Let’s talk today about Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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Dirty Words

This week, in part four of our series, I Do, we dealt with one of the dirtiest words in our culture. Want to know what it is? Submission. The idea of one person submitting themselves to another is anathema in the mind of the culture. And yet, when guys like Paul and Peter talked about marriage in their New Testament letters, they consistently used the word. That means we need to figure out what kind of a role it is supposed to have. Keep reading and wrestle with me with what this should look like.

Dirty Words

My boys enjoy Legos. A lot. In addition to having two of them on Lego Robotics teams at school, I think we are on a good approach for having every Lego set known to man before they graduate from high school. Over the years of accumulating various cool sets, though, some have gotten disassembled after being played with for a while. On occasion, they’ll want to play with a set from the past they know now resides in pieces in the playroom. Fortunately, the Lego website has the instructions and parts list for pretty much every set they’ve ever produced available to download. It’s just a simple matter of printing out the parts list, finding the right pieces, and then pulling up the instructions on some kind of a computer so they can rebuild it. Simple, right?

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