I recently read a great book, and I’ve been struck by how well it connects with this Sunday’s passage in Ephesians 4.
Being the Bad Guys by Stephen McAlpine begins with the observation that “Only a few generations ago, Christianity was the good guy, the solution to what was bad… [but now] the tide has shifted… Christianity is viewed as the bad guy. Christianity is no longer an option; it’s a problem.”
McAlpine is helpfully blunt about the way the winds of culture and waves of social change have been unsettling for so many Christians, but he is equally helpful in pointing us to the reality that this is what Jesus told us to expect. That we shouldn’t be surprised by it. That the solution is not to rage against the society around us, or to withdraw to a sheltered isolation. But as it always been for God’s people, the solution is to rest on the eternal promises of God in Christ and to conduct ourselves with such humility and grace and love that others would long to know what makes us tick.
And it has struck me how much this has in common with what Paul encouraged the Ephesians to be on about. Rather than being knocked about by every wind and wave of teaching, he encouraged them to remain grounded in the truth of the gospel and to speak this truth to one other in relationships of love. That requires servant hearts and faithful leadership, but it is the very means by which Jesus builds his church, the church through which he is made known and glorified.
It’s a short, easy read full of great observations and biblical wisdom. Written by an Aussie and published only last year it’s no surprise that it resonates so well with issues that come up in our media, with challenges we face in our workplaces, and with friction we might have amongst our family and friends. But most of all, this is a great book because it helps us dig further into what the Bible says about living a life worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1).
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