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NOTE: Welcome to the new – but not really new –
In this episode of the podcast, I’m sharing 4 ways you can start fresh. Whether you need a brand new start for a brand new year, or a brand new start for today, this look at Ephesians 5:15 – 21 will help you become more intentional in your pastor wife life.
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I have been studying through Ephesians for a while now and last week, this particular passage jumped out at me. Here’s what Ephesians 5:15 – 21 says in the CSB version.
Pay careful attention, then, to how you live — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. — Ephesians 5:15-21 (CSB)
This passage follows a discussion of light versus darkness. In summary, as Christians, we are light-bearers who are called to be demonstrators of what life in Christ looks like – exposing the goodness of it. We are called to expose the darkness to light.
People all around us – even some of those sitting in the pews of our churches – are living in darkness. They have hidden themselves from the light or they have refused to open their eyes. Whatever their reasons, they are in darkness. As light-bearers, we have the answer to their hopelessness.
Ephesians 5:15-21 gives us some specific instruction on how we are to live as light-bearers. (I love Paul’s writing – He never gives you a “WHY” without filling in the “HOW”
Verse 15 says, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live, not as unwise people, but as wise.” I know it is so easy for me to move through life on auto-pilot, including my ministry life. January is a great time to wake up. It’s a great time to stop just going through the motions and be intentional about your pastor wife life. According to the Word, this is a trademark of wise people. And we want to be wise women, not foolish!
Don’t waste your season.
I am preaching to myself in this step. I can so easily find excuses to put off what I know God has told me to do. Often times I try to blame it on the season of life I am in. Maybe it is because I don’t like the season I am in. Maybe it is because I don’t feel qualified because of the season I am in. Maybe it’s because I am so stinking tired in the season I am in. Maybe it’s because the season I am in is hard. Maybe it is because the season hurts.
In whatever season you find yourself, God is there and He will gently guide you. Think Psalm 23. A shephered knows how to care for his sheep according to the season. He will provide for you. He will provide rest. He will give you direction. He will protect you. He will bless you in the midst of the enemies surrounding you.
Every season has a purpose. And once the season is past, don’t waste it! Take what you learned from it and grow from it. Let it strengthen your character and your testimony.
Understand the Lord’s will.
Verse 17 tells us not to be foolish, but to under what the Lord’s will is. The word foolish here means “lacking perspecitive because of short-sightedness.” God’s will for our lives is big. It’s bigger than this moment you are facing right now. It’s bigger than the conflict that is tearing your church apart. It’s bigger than the family drama playing out right in front of you.
God’s plan encompasses the very best for every single person on earth. It’s mind-blowing, isn’t it? Yet at the same time, it’s simple. His will for YOUR LIFE can be found in the Word, through prayer, and by what you learn as you step out in faith.
This is why time spent daily in the Word is so important. His will is there. Having an understanding of His will gives us confidence in our decisions – you know, the ones that aren’t clearly laid out in Scripture. The more saturated with the Word we are, the more clearly we will see the principles of His will and be able to apply it to the situations of our lives.
Be filled by the Holy Spirit.
Verse 18 warns us not to get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but to be filled by the Spirit. For some of us, a fresh start means reminding ourselves where our needs are truly met. God designed us to be dependent on the Holy Spirit for our needs. We live in an age where it is so easy find other ways to get our needs met. Feeling sorry for yourself? Post about it on social media and you will have dozens commiserating with you. Feeling angry about an injustice? Bring it up with your co-workers and let them be angry with you! Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? The answer is as close as 3 musketeers and a Diet Coke. That’s a human way of living life.
The Holy Spirit is available to you 24/7 365. Allow Him to minister to you and the satisfaction you’ll find is way, way better than anything the world offers. Even better than Diet Coke.
The last couple verses of the passage give you some identifying characteristics of a person who is filled by the Spirit. Consider this a bonus.
Speak to one another in psalms, hymn, and spiritual songs.
I’m not going to lie. This makes me giggle a bit. I just picture someone going around and using only song lyrics to carry on conversation with people.
But seriously, a person who is filled by the Spirit speaks differently. They use spiritual language. I’m not talking about “thee” and “thou” and “thus saith the Lord”. I’m talking about speaking biblically. Using biblical principles to encourage one another and build each other up. Taking biblical principles and applying them to current situations. It’s speaking in alignment with who God is and who He says we are. It’s agreeing with His promises instead of our emotions.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord
If your heart is filled by the Spirit, your heart is filled with joy. It may not be expressed in hilarious laughter all the time – but your heart will be light.
Give thanks for everything.
A woman who is filled by the Spirit understands sees the bigger perspective. She doesn’t base her thankfulness on her current situation. She is thankful because she trusts that God is working His plans through all of it and that she will eventually see the purpose in even the painful things.
Submit to one another in the fear of Christ
To submit is to surrender to God’s arrangements. In other words, living out His will for your life. As Brianne Henry said when she was on the podcast, to “stay in your own lane”. It’s being where you’re supposed to be and staying out of where you’re not! It’s walking out your calling – not someone else’s.
And that’s a great place to start a fresh start!
Be sure and stop by the website on Thursday and read our first guest post from Brianne Henry. Whether you are a brand new pastor’s wife or a seasoned warrior, you’re going to love her letter to new pastors’ wives. It’s been a great reminder for me.
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