September 18, 2018 • Life for Leaders
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today’s Life for Leaders devotion will offer some final thoughts on how the church—including you and me—can reveal the manifold wisdom of God to the world. So far, I’ve suggested that we can fulfill this calling by sharing the good news with our neighbors and by demonstrating the unifying purpose of God through church unity.
What else might we do to make God’s wisdom known to the world? Remember what we saw in the first half of Ephesians 2. There, we began as people who were already dead in our transgressions. We were in bondage to our sinful cravings and to the ruler of the kingdom of the air. But God, because of his abundant mercy and grace, made us alive with Christ. God saved us from living as zombies, as long as we accept his grace by putting our trust in him. When this happens, we are recreated in Christ for a life of good works.
In light of Ephesians 2:1-10, we who are in Christ should live in real time in a very different way from those who are still dead in transgressions. We should be people who live life to the fullest, enjoying and making use of our freedom from sin, living each day in the flow of God’s grace, receiving it freely and giving it away. As Christians, we should live in such a way that the world sees something distinctive in us, something magnetic, something that cannot be explained apart from what God has done and is doing in Jesus Christ.
I expect you’ve probably heard something like this before. Preachers are fond of exhorting their flock to live so that people see Christ in them. Yet, such exhortations often fail, largely because they leave us feeling guilty about our failures. Or, perhaps, we resolve to do better, to put on a happy face, to talk as if we’re living the heavenly life today even when heaven seems far, far away. But, before long, we’re back to our old, lifelessly, ordinary ways. Our pretense of abundant living accentuates the hollowness of our reality.
If you want to live as a person fully alive, don’t focus on your failings as a Christian. And, whatever you do, don’t put on a fake happy face, pretending as if everything in your life is just fine. Guilt and inauthenticity won’t cut when it comes to showing the world the gracious wisdom of God. Rather, lean in to God’s grace, letting his grace transform you and inspire you. The more you are captivated by what God has done for you in Christ, the more you will be motivated to live a transformed life. The more you offer yourself to the Lord as someone called to live for the praise of his glory, the more you will discover the life of God within you, empowering you to be fully alive in all that you do (see Ephesians 1:11-14).
Something to Think About:
When have you felt fully alive?
What helps you to live in the flow of God’s grace? What drags you back into the “death-life” of your pre-Christian existence?
What about your life points to the manifold wisdom of God?
Something to Do:
Write the word “GRACE” on a sticky note and stick it somewhere you will see it often throughout the day. Let this note remind you of God’s abundant grace in your life.
Gracious God, you have indeed raised me from death to life through Christ. You have delivered me from bondage and invited me to live in the freedom of your grace. You have recreated me in Christ so that I might do the good works you have prepared for me. All of this is wonderful, and I thank you for it.
But, Lord, I want to experience the reality of your grace more consistently, not only for my enjoyment, but also so that I might be a signpost of your wisdom to the world. Help me to live each day—beginning right now—as someone who has been raised from death to life by your grace. Help me to walk in the good works you have for me today, so that you might be glorified through me. Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.