Ephesians 5:1-7 MSG
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.
You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God. Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.”
What stood out to me…
I love the idea of fairness and identify with the idea professor Adam Grant describes as being a matcher.
In his book Give & Take, Adam describes a matcher this way:
“Few of us act like givers or takers, adopting a third style instead. We become matchers, striving to preserve an equal balance of giving and getting. Matchers operate on the principle of fairness: when they help others, they protect themselves by seeking reciprocity. If you’re a matcher, you believe in tit for tat, and your relationships are governed by even exchanges of favors.”
I try very hard to not be a taker and want to fall on the side of having a giving heart, I know I naturally gravitate toward having a bend toward fairness.
While the idea of returning favors can be helpful in society, in the Kingdom of God, there is no room for a give-and-take relationship.
His love is extravagant. God gives his goodness freely.
But for some reason, I can’t wrap my head around it. The matcher in me wants to fall into the habit of trying to serve God based on what He has done for me. Even worse, I sometimes find myself subconsciously placing expectations on God, thinking He “owes” me because of my obedience.
While I know neither of these scenarios is true to the heart of God's Kingdom, if I'm not careful, my societal habits can rob me of receiving what He fully has for me.
We are very much a work in progress, trying to remind ourselves God is not in a matching relationship with us. When we can recognize this mindset creeping in (or one of our close friends gently calls it out for us), we can replace our misplaced thoughts towards God by trying a few things:
-write down what we are thankful for in the moment
-remind ourselves what He is asking us to grow in (there is always something)
-give ourselves grace for being in process, because we always are
This week in particular, I am feeling peace from Him in the midst of a bit of chaos. I am surrendering my belief of earning His love by being diligent to study His word. I am choosing to trust the truth: He is giving peace because it is His promise to me simply as His child.
Where do you have misplaced expectations on yourself or of God? This week, can we repent and choose to believe, love, and give freely, without preformed assumptions?
For Thursday, August 27, read Ephesians 5:8-14