The book of Ephesians is about the Church. It is not the buildings or the trappings that surround us when we study and worship, but us, you and me. Although a lot of Churches are packing in a lot of people each Sunday (while some are just scattering a few around their facilities), the vast majority of folks do not attend Church at all, or at the very best, a couple of times each year or so. I have always wondered why. Actually I am confident I know the answer, and have for a long time. I guess I have just been afraid to acknowledge it.
Those people out there who are not showing up on our doorstep just don’t have a reason to come. It’s not relevant to their lives. Sometimes we think it is because the music is not vibrant enough, or the oratorical skills of the minister are lacking, or the programs we promote are outdated or inconsequential in the society in which we live.
But that’s not it, really. It is that people out there in the real world are watching us. Not when we are inside the walls of the building, but when we are walking, working, managing our way through the real world. What they see, by and large, is the same thing they see when they look at any other person moving through life. We have the same problems, and the same solutions, if any solutions at all. What we claim for ourselves when we cloister inside our towers of Truth, doesn’t translate into the glass and steel of the real world. It doesn’t come through on the lake or the golf course. We are going through the same difficulties as everyone else, and handling them the same way as everyone else, usually one that doesn’t work, or at least work out right.
We keep saying publicly that we have “the answer”, but somehow that answer is not perceived as working for us any more than it does for those who don’t claim to have the answer in the first place.
So then, how do we change that? How do we make what we say, what we do? How do we make what we espouse, pragmatically applicable?
Well, you see, that is what Paul (and the Spirit of God who inspired his writing) is saying to us in the book of Ephesians. And maybe it all hangs on that little verse in Chapter 5 that talks about being “filled with His Spirit.” (see Ephesians 5:18) Now if you understand that properly, it’s a control issue. Who is really in control of your life? Who is really operating the strings that dictate your actions and reactions? Unless it is HE, we’ve got problems. And the sad truth is, everybody knows it.