Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022. Good morning! How are you doing this morning? We will carry out a state analysis of our life today, using the letter the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, als basic starting point and focus. It will be interesting to discuss the basic setup of our life. What is the framework in which we see ourselves? What are the guiding principles we use for our daily decisions?
What is the basic setup of our life? …
The framework of the biblical texts is defined by the character of the creator. His character is truth, love, freedom, dedication, friendliness. His character is also power, justice, fairness. The biblical laws are written rules which are flowing from this character, formulating concrete actions, but also the mindset to pursue.
Paul now compares the character of God with the mindset and actions of humans. Here we go:
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. (Ephesians 2, 1-3)
Paul sees every human, any group of humans and mankind as a whole in a struggle about our mindset, our principles, the way we listen to the forces which exist in this world. We can listen to any of these. There are typical ways which are characterized as “ways of this world”. And Paul also talks about the “rulers of the kingdom of the air”. The bible works with spiritual powers of various kinds as part of the larger reality.
Our own life, our environment …
Clearly, humans grow up into a human society. Our society consists of many different views and ideas about life. We find religion here, various religions indeed. And we find ideas about what we can and should achieve, what we want to be and what we want to do. Who are you? What are your achievements? Are you beautiful? Are you strong, skillful, rich, talented, smart? In what way are your talents and posessions defining your existence?
Paul claims that people violate the character of God. People behave in a way that they go against his truth, his love, his freedom, his friendliness. Paul claims that people follow the wrong forces. He claims that we listen to the wrong voices.
It is quite interesting to follow this generic analysis by looking more into the details. What exactly is it what is going wrong? Where is it showing itself. We all see and know the many problems any society has. We also see and know the far reaching achievements of humans. It is a quite diverse picture we can observe. Social analysis as well as a fresh view on our own life, principles and actions, will help us to recalibrate our life. When we listen to the biblical voices, we will find a perspective which is fantastic, full of truth, full of life, full of motivation and comfort. (Roland Potthast)