Belief and Behavior…Can’t have one without the other
“Love and marriage, love and marriage, Go together like a horse and carriage, Dad was told by mother, You can’t have one without the other…” so the old song goes by Frank Sinatra. Yes, this song is so old the notion of falling in love first and then getting married is “old fashioned”. You just like each other for awhile, move in together and see if it leads to marriage…or not. Sigh. The world has changed. But do we change with it or continue to behave like we say we believe? Mm.
We enter into Paul’s next letter to the churches in Ephesus. Here is what we will encounter in our study: (Excerpt from Eugene Peterson)
What we know about God and what we do for God have a way of getting broken apart in our lives. The moment the organic unity of belief and behavior is damaged in any way, we are incapable of living out the full humanity for which we were created.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians joins together what has been torn apart in our sin-wrecked world. He begins with an exuberant exploration of what Christians believe about God, and then, like a surgeon skillfully setting a compound fracture, “sets” this belief in God into our behavior before God so that the bones–belief and behavior–knit together and heal.
Once our attention is called to it, we notice these fractures all over the place. There is hardly a bone in our bodies that has escaped injury, hardly a relationship in city or job, school or church, family or country, that isn’t out of joint or limping in pain. There is much work to be done.
And so Paul goes to work. He ranges widely, from heaven to earth and back again, showing how Jesus, the messiah, is eternally and tirelessly bringing everything and everyone together. He also shows us that in addition to having this work done in and for us, we are participants in this urgent work. Now that we know what is going on, that the energy of reconciliation is the dynamo at the heart of the universe, it is imperative that we join in vigorously and perseveringly, convinced that every detail of our lives contributes (or not) to what Paul describes as God’s plan worked out by Christ, “a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.”
Mm…are you ready for it? Warning: May cause some serious life transformation with doses of growing up. This is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Just sayin’.
Dear Heavenly Father, we are not there yet. We have not arrived. We need more of You. We need more of what You intended for our lives from the beginning of time. Teach us, Lord. We are willing to change, to grow and mature. You are God and we are not. We believe and we want our behavior to closely match what we say we believe. Work in and through us, but do it gently and make it last forever. I love you back and I want to be better than I was. In Jesus Name, Amen