Hi friend! Welcome to episode 31 of Tending Your Soul! I’m Mariel and I’m so glad you are joining me in the Word today! Tending our souls in the Word of God is similar to a Gardener tending a garden. It’s a little-by-little process that will eventually bear fruit.
In Episode 30 we began walking through the book of Ephesians. Today we are going to look at the next couple verses was we lean in and let the Gardener of our soul tend to us with Truth.
The TEND method we use begins with T for take time to pray, so join me as we go before the Father.
Lord, we thank you that you are the one who tends to our soul with your word. Thank you that your word fertilizes, nourishes, and cultivates good fruit in us as we slow down and lean into it. Speak to us individually through your word and your spirit as only you can do. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Using the TEND method as a guide, we come to E for examine the scripture. This is where I like to write out the verses by hand since the act of writing God’s word helps us to interact in an intimate way with the words. And we better remember what we have written with our hand. But for our purposes, let’s read the verses but I encourage you to write them if you are able.
So today we are looking at Ephesians 1:5-6. I am reading from the English Standard Bible but I love the many translation options we have available to us, so choose a translation that you enjoy and understand.
My bible says, “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved.”
When we examine the verses we want to be sure we understand who the pronouns are referring to, as this is important for the context. If you remember from episode 30, Paul is the author of this letter to the Ephesians and he is writing from prison being guarded by roman soldiers. So the “us” in these verses refers to Paul, the Ephesians and really all believers. The “he” and “his” is referring to Christ.
So as we move to the next step in the TEND method, we want to notice the lessons here. The first most important question to ask of these verses is what is this teaching about God?
What stands out to me about God is that He pre-picked us…predestined is what the verse says. So before I knew Him, He knew me. This also tells us God is eternal, He is before us.
Then we can also ask is there a sin to confess, promise to claim, action to mimic, command to obey or example to follow in these verses?
We cannot overlook the example of Paul. He is a man in prison with an eternal perspective– he is considering the predestination and choosing of the Church by Christ rather than whining over his circumstances! I also see here that we are chosen to be God’s because it displays His grace. The grace of God is on display by His choosing of us.
What an interesting thought!
As I consider this, I can turn it into a question to respond to for the final step in TENDing, Do what it says. So one question that stands out to me from the lessons is how can I have an eternal perspective like Paul has, regardless of my own circumstances? The response to that question would then be my application or action.
For me, keeping an eternal perspective can be difficult since I can easily be distracted by the noise of the world. It seems what is in front of my face can be so demanding that I forget the long game of it all. I can forget I was prechosen in order to display the grace of God. So how can I remember this better? One way might be to consider removing some distractions.
My biggest distraction is often my phone, especially in the morning. With one child who has launched and no longer lives at home and my mother is older and living nearby, my first go-to in the morning is to check my phone and be sure no one needed me during the night. Now this is really ridiculous because my phone would have woken me during the night if they had needed me. But I digress.
The trouble comes when I am now holding the phone and easily start clicking through all the emails and social media to fill my eyes with before ever pouring my first cup of coffee.
This draws my attention away from the Lord before I have even had a chance to sit down with my Bible. So to better remember the eternal focus like Paul displays, I am going to put the phone on the other side of the room so I can pick up my bible before I pick up my phone in the morning. My heart yearns for time with Jesus but my flesh yearns to be entertained and drowned in dopamine. I will choose to discipline my flesh towards the Lord today little by little.
How about you, friend? How will you respond to these verses today? How might you focus your heart toward an eternal perspective today?
What small step can you take to live today for eternity? As we consider this, let’s ask the Father to give us the desire and ability to see how to best respond.
Father, thank you for the example of a man like Paul, who though in prison, he had eternity in mind. We are all dealing with various trials and losses and pain, would you give us a heart’s desire for you and for eternity? Help us choose the hard thing of not numbing or tuning out but rather remaining steadfast towards the goal of knowing Christ better. Focus our hearts towards eternity, in Jesus’ name and for His sake we pray. Amen.
I hope our time together in the Word has blessed you, friend and I look forward to next time. I want to invite you to get your free TEND guide at marieldavenport.com/start and spend time tending your soul by the Word for yourself.
Until next time, keep tending your soul!