For years I held on to a “secret” in my heart that brought me shame. The secret fed the lies that I wasn’t enough (for anything) and never would be; that I was “damaged goods”; and that I was unworthy of love, forgiveness, friendship, and joy. I spent the majority of my life living from that position. Thankfully, I have some wonderful women in my life who were willing to lovingly hear my shame and love me anyway with open arms. When I shared this secret, I exposed it to the light and it no longer held me in bondage. “But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” (Eph. 5:13)
I don’t feel the need to share my shame with everyone; I shared it with those the Lord guided me to share it with. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) And then I nailed that shame to the cross of Jesus, and have left it there. For He said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
One of the major things I have learned thus far in this study of Ephesians is who I am in Christ, and my position. As I said for most of my life I lived from a position of shame and feeling that I was undeserving. What I’ve learned is that I am: Blessed with every spiritual blessing; Chosen to be holy and blameless; Adopted into God’s family as an heir; Redeemed by the blood of Jesus, Forgiven and Reconciled with the Father, who has shared His wonderful mystery with me that gives me eternal hope; Sealed by the Holy Spirit, to show that I belong to the Lord, secure in my eternal salvation, and I am now Seated with Christ in heavenly places where the kingdom of darkness is beneath our feet.
My position has absolutely nothing to do with me: I am righteous only because of my faith in Christ. His righteousness covers me. I am given grace upon grace because the Lord loves me. THAT’s my position. And if you have believed and have faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who gave His life to redeem you, then that’s your position as well. So we should listen carefully to Paul’s warning: “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.” (Eph. 5:15-17)
The father of lies would have us believe that if we are redeemed it doesn’t matter how we live. But that’s because he wants to make our testimonies for Christ impotent. He wants us to forget that we have access to the power of God’s mighty strength — the same power He used when He raised Jesus from death and seated Him at His right hand in heaven. The days here on earth are evil because the devil is still roaming this earth and fighting for every soul he can. When we live in our position in Christ, walk in love as Children of Light, and in God’s wisdom and power, we are negating Satan’s negative affect through Christ. Instead of following the crowd here on this sinful earth, we are to seek God’s wisdom and walk in His ways, as imitators of Christ. It matters!
It matters how we live because when others see the light in us, see the joy in us no matter the circumstances, then they are drawn to the light. And that’s why we’re still here–to be the “jars of clay” that allow Him to shine His light in our lives so that others will want what we have. That’s the Lord’s will.
So in our new selves we aren’t to get drunk, thereby drowning out the voice of the Holy Spirit. We aren’t to be filled not with excessive alcohol or other mind-altering substances, but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit. And being filled with the Spirit, we are to be always thankful to the Lord for what He has done for us, and to share His truth, and to treat each other with reverence (Eph. 5:18-21).
When we feel an emptiness, we are to seek the Lord to fill us to overflowing with His Spirit, His wisdom, His truth and His love. That is living wisely and walking in wisdom as the Children of the Light that we are; walking in love and truth. It should be evident to others in how we walk and talk to the extent that our hearts overflow in praise, singing, and thanking God for all things while we put other’s needs and desires before our own. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:5-6)
In Christ’s letters to the churches of Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7) and Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22), He was pointing them back to their first love–and away from their passionless, lukewarm religion. The Rev. Billy Graham wrote in “Storm Warning”: “They had settled for mere theological respectability and material comfort. Christ wanted them alive and passionate again. He wanted them totally committed to Him, wholeheartedly obedient. For it is in that first-love commitment that they would find the strength to overcome the storms that were already on their way.”
We should also heed His warning because storms will come. The fleshly response to a storm is fear. But we do not walk alone to handle the storms and trials in our lives alone, and we are not given a spirit of fear from the Lord, “but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). Make certain you know where that fear and anxiety comes from when you are in the midst of storms and trials–from the enemy. When those thoughts and feelings creep in, take those thoughts captive to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
To walk in wisdom is to be obedient to God’s Word. As we keep our eyes on Him, He will take us to the other side of the storm safely (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 6:45-52). We will be able to rise above our storms in the Lord’s power. Especially during those times, others will be able to see our faith and joy in Christ despite our circumstances. They will be able to see His light shine, and invite them to come out of the darkness. When we walk as Children of Light in God’s truth and wisdom, His light shines for the world to see and it glorifies Him. Remind yourself of your position in Christ, and walk as the dearly beloved children of God that you are!