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…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:18-21 ESV Read More
Nowhere in this directive does it say to wait until everything is happy and covered in rainbows to do these things. That is where the Holy Spirit comes in. Any fleshly animal can sing and be happy over a big steak, beautiful weather, and every desire fulfilled. It’s when we make melody to the Lord in our hearts during a dumpster-fire day that we are relying on the Holy Spirit. It’s when we’re aggravated at our will not being done that we let the Holy Spirit show up and treat the people around us with peace and patience.
How many times have you been in a mood and said something that just made all of the mess that started it last four times longer? This isn’t about being a fake, but really weighing the conversations and songs we sing in our heads before they get to our mouths. Is the cutting statement or the complaint worth the damage it is going to do? Is there a thankfulness that could come out of our mouths that would build up people around us and heal the situation? (Typically, everyone involved knows a mess when they see it. Saying it out loud just dumps a bucket of shame on top.)
Like we always do, let’s read this section backwards. The whole point and motivator of it all is “out of reverence for Christ.” That means as I revere and honor Christ, my words and outpouring of my heart are going to be affected. If I’m focusing on the Holy Spirit living in me, Christ dying for me, and the Father caring and watching over me, how can I say anything but Thank You!? It’s not a reverence of fear, but of gratitude and joy and peace. Christ has done a great thing. Whatever I’m in right now, He is still here. He is here and He is busy!
If I have no complaint and I don’t have to control anything, I can submit to anyone. If I’m trusting God to accomplish all of His wants, I can trust Him and the other people around me with my submission. Not passive, but actively allowing other people to follow the Lord as they are able. Submitting to one another’s will and hopes so as to see Christ’s will show up even more. John says, “If you can’t love your brother who you can see, how can you love God who you can’t see?” To borrow that out of context, if you can’t submit to your brother (or sister) that you can see, how can you submit to God who you can’t see?
Submission and reverence, from the Holy Spirit in each of us, brings forth songs of thanksgiving and rejoicing. That’s how Paul could sing songs in a prison and countless martyrs since can look to heaven with hope in their suffering. Let us submit and revere the Lord accordingly as we walk through our struggles today.