February 19, 2019 • Life for Leaders
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we saw that Christianity is much more than just good morals and that Jesus is so much more than just a good moral teacher. We who put our faith in Jesus enter into a relationship with him, such that Paul can speak of “learning Christ” (a more literal translation of verse 20), not just learning about Christ, but learning Christ.
Verse 21 continues to spell out how we “learn Christ.” This verse begins by noting that we have “heard about Christ.” This implies a process of instruction in which someone who knows the truth about Christ passes it on to us in words we can understand.
The next phrase of verse 21 reveals that this process of instruction isn’t merely a human interaction. When we were instructed about Christ, we are “taught in him.” “In him” suggests deep fellowship with Christ and, as Ephesians regularly reminds us, with the members of his body.
The final phrase of Ephesians 4:21 notes that we were taught “in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.” The appearance of “Jesus” without “Christ” or “Lord,” found only here in Ephesians, reminds us that our learning “in Christ” is connected to the life, death, and resurrection of a real human being, Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, being “in Christ” isn’t some disembodied spiritual experience. Rather, it is a relationship with one who is both God and human, one whose teaching was delivered in real words and demonstrated with real deeds in a real human life.
Christian learning isn’t based on religious feeling or even on speculating about “what would Jesus do.” Rather, it is based on knowing about the human Jesus, who was God Incarnate, and knowing this same Jesus personally, who invites us into relationship with him today.
Something to Think About:
As you think about your our own experience of learning as a Christian, what has helped you to learn about Jesus?
What helps you to know Jesus daily, personally?
Would you say that you live each day “in Christ”? Why or why not?
Something to Do:
Talk with a friend or with your small group about how you actually live your life “in Christ”? Share what your relationship with Christ actually means as you go about your day.
Jesus, thank you for the privilege of knowing about you. Thank you for those who have taught me to know you through their speaking and their writing. Thank you for those who have taught me through their faithful actions. Thank you for the Gospels, which help me to know what you did and said. Thank you for the Scripture, all of which points to you.
I also thank you, Jesus, for the privilege of knowing you, being in relationship with you, even being called your friend. As I live “in you,” help me to know you more truly and deeply. May my life be shaped by your life. May I live in such a way today that people can see you through me. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Jesus, the Image of the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15–29)
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.