By Bishop Gregory Cameron
I was paid a compliment once: “You’re so wise.” Not true, but a big compliment! In the Book of Proverbs, to be wise is to understand how life works, how to be fulfilled; and wisdom comes from studying God’s ways and learning to walk in them. These chapters (a father’s advice to his son) cover the same ground all parents worry over. The passage is blunt about sex, debt, laziness, and the company young men keep. But there’s a deeper message in these words as well, being faithful to the handmaid of God’s wisdom will bring greater blessing than any superficial pleasures. These words speak to us therefore, asking if we really do allow our lives to be guided by God’s wisdom.
Psalm 11 follows a similar theme: God is the most powerful source of security in life.
The Letter to the Ephesians could be called “The Charter of the Church”. It sets out the sweep of God’s plans from creation, the place of Jesus as Messiah, and the life of God’s people. When people talk about the Church, they often use the language of Ephesians. This language is so developed, and so unlike Paul’s words elsewhere, that many scholars are agreed that the letter was more probably written by his followers, despite the opening verse.
God acts to bring blessing to his people, and Ephesians 1 sets out the promises contained in God’s plans. It reveals a God lavishing spiritual blessings on his people. We have been chosen, forgiven, gifted, and given a hope and a destiny. The writer prays for God’s good gifts to be experienced by God’s people. It’s an invitation for you and me. But note this too: God’s plan was revealed in and through Jesus. It in “in him” that these plans have been established. It is in knowing Jesus and following him, that we get woven into God’s plans and destiny.
What are the real values on which we base our lives?
What do the promises and plans set out in Ephesians 1 mean to you? How might they encourage you in your own journey of discipleship?
Lord God, you are an eternal refuge and in Jesus, you plan the very best for your people. Help me to live into your promises and walk in your ways. Amen.
Bishop Gregory Cameron is Bishop of the Diocese of St. Asaph in Wales.