July 16, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
“Consequently.” Every time I hear this word, I am transported back to junior high school. I’m sitting in my ninth grade Spanish class, listening to my teacher say the word “consequently” for what seems like the hundredth time in a single class session. I catch the eye of my friend Joe and we snicker behind our hands. For some strange reason, our teacher is smitten with the word “consequently.” Her obsession with this word has become the running joke in the class.
Yet, in fairness to this word, it is more than a joke. In English, “consequently” draws attention to conclusions made on the basis of evidence. When someone says “consequently,” we know that what follows is a result of what has been stated earlier. So, for example, I might say something like this: “It’s actually raining today in Los Angeles. Consequently, I should allow a lot of extra time for my trip to the airport.” (Southern Californians have a hard time controlling their cars when it rains. Expect accidents if the streets are wet.)
Ephesians 2:19 in the NIV begins with the word “consequently,” which rightly translates the Greek phrase ara oun. “Consequently” tells us that what we’re about to read depends logically on what has gone before. Specifically, we are going to discover some implications of the fact that Christ has reconciled Jews and Gentiles through his death on the cross, reconciling both groups to God and giving both groups access to the Father by the Spirit (2:14-18). The consequence of Christ’s reconciling work will reiterate the inclusion of the Gentiles among the people of God. It will also lead to a new way of thinking about what it means to be God’s people together. This new perspective can radically change the way you think about yourself and your participation in the community of Christians.
Ephesians 2:19-22 reminds us to live our lives in light of the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is the basis of our individual salvation, to be sure. But it touches so much more of life than this. It gives us a whole new way of thinking and living as a member of God’s family and a crucial part of his “holy temple.”
As you go about your business today, may I encourage you to consider how the cross of Christ impacts your feelings, choices, and relationships. When you deal with a difficult relationship at work, what difference does the cross of Christ make? If you’re wronged by someone on your team, how is the cross relevant to you? Jesus died on the cross, thus forging reconciliation among divided peoples. Consequently, how will you live today?
Something to Think About:
How does the cross of Christ impact the way you live each day?
How might your life be different if you lived regularly in light of the cross?
Something to Do:
Somewhere in your workspace, if it’s appropriate in your context, put a small symbol of the cross. The point is not to draw attention from your colleagues. Rather, it’s to remind you that Christ died for you and to bring reconciliation. As you go through your day, live in light of the cross.
Gracious God, as we press on in our devotional study of Ephesians 2, help us to come to a deeper and truer understanding of the cross and its implications for daily living. May we take seriously the “consequently” that shapes our lives and relationships today. By your Spirit, help me to live out the truth and power of the cross today in every situation and in every relationship. Amen.
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.