Last weekend I ended our devotional with the following statement question: How does the saving work of Jesus spill over into “practical, real-world implications” in my life? Today, hopefully, we’ll begin to look at some answers.
Let’s start by piggy-backing the verses Bill mentioned in the sermon this morning: Ephesians 5:1-2, 5:21-33, 6:1-4, and 1 Timothy 4:12. Here’s a quick summary, based on the notes I took this morning:
- Eph 5:1-2: Follow God, walk in love, and imitate Christ;
- Eph 5:21-33: Husbands and wives should love and respect each other;
- Eph 6:1-4: Children should respect their parents and parents (in particular fathers) should not provoke their children to anger;
- 1 Tim 4:12: We need to be an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.
That seems like a good place to start. But these are still fairly general, so let’s give some specific examples from every-day life where these might be illustrated:
- Not speeding up when a weaving car approaches from behind on 264 and tries to pass me;
- Doing the dishes without my wife asking me to;
- Playing with the kids instead of trying to “get my stuff done” (that could easily be done at another time);
- Looking at people when they talk to us;
- Instead of saying, “I’ll keep you in my prayers” taking a few minutes right at that moment to say, “Can I pray for you right now about this?”
- Picking up trash on the floor at work (or any place, really) (instead of leaving it for the custodian because, “That’s their job”);
- Refraining from laughing at any joke that contains racial or ethnic degradation (more commonly called “stereotyping”) – and even telling people the joke isn’t funny because of the racial/ethnic contents;
- Making a habit of saying “Please” and “Thank You”
- Allow someone to step in front of you at the grocery store check-out or fast-food ordering line;
- Spend an evening playing games that opens up conversation and encourages your family members.
Now, these are some simple things that we can do every day to help show people we have Christ’s love in us. They are simple things, yet hard to do. They aren’t meant to be legalistic in any way, and doing or not doing them doesn’t make us more or less holy. But they are some little ways in which we can encourage and lift up others around us and reach out to them. Some may go un-noticed by everyone but God, and that’s okay.
Too often we get concerned with what we must do or not do as a Christian, and that list so often contains “big stuff”, yet that “big stuff” is hard to measure and so we get discouraged and feel we fall short. But the “good works” that Jesus saved us to do should be going on every moment of every day. While a “big” action like building a Habitat house is wonderful, the truly great things are the “little” actions we take day by day that form habits in us which continually paint the picture of Jesus to those around us.