There’s tremendous power in the quiet, organic, incremental, growth of the life of God planted in us. When the seed of the Gospel is planted within us, as the Father redeems us in the Son by the power of the Spirit, the new life of God starts growing within us. And we may not notice the growth as it’s happening, because we’re too close it, but over time we may begin to see some of it.
The change that God intends to bring into our lives isn’t superficial: it goes down deep to the very heart of who we are, and it stretches wide to encompass all that we are. It is the complete and utter transformation of our entire being into becoming like Christ in every way.
Which means everything must change.
That’s exactly what the Apostle Paul has been calling us to in the second half of Ephesians. And in Ephesians 5:1–21, Paul shows us just how comprehensive this life-transformation is.
God intends to transform every dimension of our being.
In this passage, we have 3-dimensional transformation:
1) Upward: Be Imitators of God
If you want to imitate God, you must walk in love, give yourself away, sacrifice for others, and offer your life unto God’s good pleasure.
But how? How can self-centered, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-protective people like us find the power to imitate God in following Jesus?
The Father in our pattern, the Son is our path, and the Spirit is our power.
All three members of the One Triune God are essential in our transformation.
2) Outward: Be Children of Light
If we are imitating God as His beloved children, following the way of Jesus through the filling of the Spirit, that upward transformation should result in an outward transformation as well.
This outward transformation affects our spiritual orientation to money, sex, and power. The way the world pursues money, sex, and power is incompatible with your new life as beloved children of God.
As imitators of God and children of the light, our relationship with money, sex, and power are being radically transformed into radical generosity, holy sexuality, and sacrificial service.
3) Inward: Filled with the Spirit
Our upward transformation as children of God ought to lead to an outward transformation as children of light.
But how? This process occurs through the inward transformation that comes from being filled with the Spirit.
The will of the Lord is that we be filled with the Spirit, that we be under the Spirit’s influence. Instead of being enslaved to our inordinate desires, running endlessly after money, sex, and power, we now follow the desires of the Spirit.
We are transformed under the influence of the Spirit.
But you having the Spirit isn’t the same as the Spirit having you. To be filled by the Spirit is to come under His transforming influence. It means handing over your whole self and holding nothing back.
Takeaway: The key to Spirit-filled living is found in surrender.
The deep, comprehensive, transformational change we need is beyond our doing. Only God can change us.
Our job is to stay in position: be filled with the Spirit, so we can be imitators of God, and then live as children of light.