Painting a Picture of a Functional Family

How do you read (study?) the Bible? Or other more challenging books?

Some seem to read through looking for a verse they agree with. Or perhaps a controversial one where they can speculate all day about what-ifs and could-bes.

I know a guy who was leading a discussion in Ephesians. Remember how at the end of Chapter 3, Paul prays for his listeners (readers) by asking three times that they be filled with God?

He proceeds then to talk about how to live this new life filled with God–or as it is called the “With-God” life.

Rather than talk about this new with-God life, he picked up on the verse which is a parenthetical statement about if Jesus ascended to heaven where all things would be under his feet then he must have descended to earth. Well, there is a theology about Jesus actually descending into Hell. They speculated on that for a while and considered the study of Ephesians done.

That’s a shame. What if we read chapters 4-6 not as a list of instructions (let’s just pull out the “wives submit to your husbands” to stand alone and build a philosophy?) but as Paul painting a picture of a spirit-filled person, a spirit-filled family, and a spirit-filled organization?

Read this section as a description of how I would be as a person Paul describes. How I would live. How I would live in community.

Imagine a family where everyone is looking out for the other person. There is no putting myself ahead of the others. No trying to be the “boss”. Yes, there is leadership, but not tyranny. Wow, what a great family.

Let’s take it another step–because Paul does.

What if we were in an organization where people developed their gifts with the encouragement of everyone else in the organization. And people, instead of competing against their fellow workers, worked to build up other people. Equipping them for ministry, as Paul said.

If it is a business, equipping them for developing products and services that serve the customer. If a church, preparing people to go out and serve and witness. If a non-profit, equipped to serve fulfilling the mission of the organization.

How much time, emotional energy, grief would we avoid if when we lived together in family, church, and business we approached it as spirit-filled people?

You can pull out all your little philosophies you want by parsing Paul’s words to suit your purposes. But go back and read this as a picture–a vision of how to live.

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