I love to put things together. This past Christmas,we bought one of my sons a robotics kit. It took every ounce of energy I had not to push him out of the way and put it together myself. But I resisted that urge. He put it together just like the instructions told him to. And in the end, it looked great.
For many of us, directions are for those losers who can’t figure it out or lack the imagination to be able to devise their own contraptions. But all too often, the directions are what allow us to build something within the specifications of the creator. Following directions also keeps us from getting to the end of the project and asking, “What are all these spare parts for?!”
Just like the instructions we receive when we purchase a piece of furniture from Ikea, or a robotics kits for our kids, our lives come with instructions. But just like the instructions we receive for the earthly things, often we ignore the instructions, saying to ourselves, “I can do this without those pesky things.”
In the latter part of Ephesians 4, we find Paul giving instructions on how to live. He tells us to put off things like falsehood, sinful anger, stealing, unwholesome talk, ignoring the Holy Spirit, bitterness, rage, fighting, slander, and mailce. He also tells us how those who follow Christ should behave: speak truthfully, work, share with those in need, speak to build others up, kindness, compassionate, forgiving.
All to often, we look at this and think, I am a free person, I can live however I want. And if you are in Christ, that is true. You are been set free from the bondage of sin and death. Paul, in other letters, tells us we have freedom. But does that mean we should cast off these instructions and just wing it, just figure it out as we go along? Not at all.
Just like the instructions we receive on our furniture, if followed, we build what the creator intended. And the end result is (usually) a safe, stable piece of furniture, that is ready to fulfill its purpose in life as your end table, your dresser, your television cart, whatever it may be.
When we following the instruction God has given us, we find fulfillment in being shared and formed into exactly what our Creator made us to be. We don’t have to search for purpose. We know it. We don’t have to seek significance from others. We experience it from God.
As you read Ephesians 4, ask God to reveal those areas that we might be attempting to keep hidden from him, so that we can surrender them to God and find what true freedom is all about.
“Freedom, then, is not the absence of limitations and constraints but it is finding the right ones, those that fit our nature and liberate us.”—Tim Keller
Questions to Ponder
- Do you look to the Bible to be a guide, the authority of your life? In not, what are you putting in its place?
- Does you character look more like the list Paul tells us to put off or the list he encourages us to do? What does that tell you about your walk relationship with Christ?