Daily Devotional Ephesians 5:1–20
According to Tertullian, the North African theologian who lived around 160–220 AD, the early church was known for its love. Paul says the same in today’s passage, where he gives several characteristics of those who follow God’s example as dearly loved children (v. 1). Above all else, Christians are known by their love, as we imitate Christ’s sacrificial life (v. 2).
Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise.
In verses 3–20, Paul spells out what this lifestyle should look like in greater detail. It is a life of moral purity. Those who belong to Christ should refrain from sexual immorality or any kind of impurity, not “even a hint” (v. 3). Not only are immoral acts to be shunned but also the thoughts and desires that fuel them. Followers of Christ must turn from greed. Greed is a particular mode of the more general sin of covetousness, a desire for anything that belongs to another (see Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21).
Christian purity is reflected in our words as well as deeds. Instead of vulgar language and coarse joking, Christian speech should be marked by thanksgiving (v. 4). Followers of Christ should encourage one another to express themselves in worship (vv. 19–20).
The apostle called the Ephesians to make a clear break from their former way of life because it is incompatible with the values of the kingdom of Christ (vv. 5–7). Their calling was not only to know the light but to be light (vv. 8–14). Living such a life does not come automatically. It requires both wisdom and power. The wisdom comes from understanding the Lord’s will (v. 17). The power to live a new life comes from the transforming work of the Holy Spirit (v. 18).
>> Are you careful in the way you live? Pay attention, so that you do not slip into old ways of thinking, speaking, and acting that are unworthy of those who profess to belong to Jesus Christ.
Pray with Us
It’s tempting to believe we have no power over our thoughts, but this is false. Dear God, strengthen us to fight sinful, self-indulgent thought patterns. Help us resist nurturing sinful patterns.