Hi Friend! Welcome to episode 33 of the Tending Your Soul podcast! I’m Mariel and I welcome you into the garden, where I spend time tending the plants as God tends to my soul. Let’s lean into the refreshment of God’s Word today and let Him cultivate good fruit within us.
We are continuing our series in Ephesians 1, that we started in Episode 30. And today we will spend time in verses 11-14. When we use the TEND method to guide our time in the Word, we want to slow down and just look at a few verses at a time. But context is imperative! So to keep context, it is important to have read the whole book of Ephesians in one sitting, if possible before tending through it. It is also helpful to read the chapter where the verses you are tending through live, that helps set the stage for the verses.
Also when you plant a garden, you want to have prepared the soil when you plant seeds in the dirt , and similarly when we spend time in God’s Word. We want to have prepared by knowing the author, audience, time period and purpose for the writing. We looked at all of that when we started this series, so if you haven’t listened to that episode, I encourage you to do so.
When we use the TEND method we start with T, which stands for Take time to pray, so let’s turn our hearts to the Gardener of our soul.
Father, would you prepare our hearts now for the seed of the Word you will press into us today? Would you refresh us with your Word today? Tend to our souls as you see fit, Lord. Amen
As we move to E in TEND we come to examine the Scripture where we write down the verses to help us slow down and pay attention to the life-giving words. So let’s look at Ephesians 1:11-14.
It says “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
As we examine these verses, we want to pay attention to the details, notice the pronouns and verbs used. In these verses the him mentioned is Jesus. Since Paul , the apostle, is the author of the letter and the believers in the church at Ephesus are the audience, then that is who is being referred to as the we.
The phrase in the ESV “we who were first” refers to the Jewish believers and then in verse 13 he says “you also” refers to the Gentiles in Ephesus. Gentiles were those people who were not Jewish by race. In the Ephesus church at the time, there were believers who were both Jewish and Gentile and Paul is including both in his letter. His heart, and really God’s heart, is for unity in the church and in the Body of Christ.
God through Paul’s pen is teaching the Ephesians through this letter and then us, as the future followers of Christ, about the inheritance we have been predestined to obtain.
The next letter in TEND we come to is N which is for notice the lessons. We want to ask what does this teach about God and then we want to see if there’s a sin, promise, action, command or example that offered a lesson for the original readers and hearers of this letter and then for us?
We see in these verses that God works all things to the purpose of bringing Him praise. We can turn this truth about God into a question to respond to, which is the last step in tending, D for do what it says. This is simply responding to the lesson that stands out.
So if God works all things out to the good purpose of his will, the purpose of praising him, then the question might be: What do I need to trust and probably pray about for him to work to His good purpose that feels unsure right now?
He’s going to work things out. In the end of it all, we will come out of this with a good inheritance that we were predestined for, so that he will be praised. So really what in my circumstances today or in this season, needs to be poured out to him so that I can trust him for his good purpose?
For me, with newly grown sons who are finding their way with careers, places to live, future spouses…I need to lay these boys back at the Lord’s feet continually! I have honestly had to do that in every season of their lives for one thing or another. But now it feels even more so when I am not as daily present in their decisions as I once was. But thankfully God is! And He predestined all of this to work out to the praise of His glory, so I can trust that for even the hard thigs in my life and trust that for my boys’ futures too.
How about for you, friend? What keeps you up at night in this season of your life? What causes anxiety and concern at times because you can’t see how this is all gonna go?
Is it your marriage, your children, a diagnosis, a job decision…
We have obtained an inheritance having been predestined to the purpose of his will. Let’s turn it all over to him who is already in control and ask him for the strength to trust him with it again today.
Father, you know the concerns of our hearts and the inability to be eternally minded at times. Help us to see your good purpose in the small glimpses of that which tears at our hearts. Help us to trust you with that which you will work out to the good counsel of your will. Amen.
I want to remind you to get your free guide to a fruitful quiet time, and helps for memorizing scripture and a the TEND method guide at marieldavenport.com/start.
Until next time, friend, keep tending your soul!