Last week we were challenged to pray for a fresh sense of God's calling. Of course this can be a dangerous prayer! God may call you to what seems beyond your depth or capability. The call to change the atmosphere in the office, or bring about reconciliation may seem just too hard ... yet it may be precisely you that God is calling to do it, affecting the spiritual temperature of your surroundings. To do this may require you to engage in some kind of spiritual warfare
It seems incredible that God might use us, especially when we see ourselves in terms of verse 1 - we too have messed up, made mistakes, done the very things that starves or kills us of life, leaving us as good as dead. We too have been led in the ways of the world, subject to a rule of the kingdom of the air. Thats that spiritual dimension again, and it can control us, using us as its prisoner. The Ephesians had been full of it (see Acts 19:17f), and we have made our own contributions too.
Yet this reading has two wonderfully important words in v4: 'But Because'! But because of God's love and mercy He makes us alive in Christ. Whatever bad we have, because of God a fresh start is possible! As Christians we don't deny the bad, we don't gloss over it. No, we face it, but because of God's love being our own reconciliation and renewal is possible.
The new compared to the old can be out of all recognition (v6-7). Note Paul uses strange words again: 'heavenly realms'. Furthermore he asserts that we are seated with Christ up in these realms! Think about it - sat down with Jesus, implies being stable, at peace ... in the place where Jesus is absolutely Lord.
Not bad eh? We need to get with it and experience that kind of spiritual connection. Anything less is not authentic Christian discipleship (e.g. see Acts 19:2 - 7). So for us, we desire to stay close to Jesus, making this a strap-line across all strategic priorities and initiatives for the Countess church. We want to find that seat with him in the heavenly realms, a vantage point from which we will be able to reach out to others.
v8-9 re-iterate the point, driving home the bottom line that this is God's Work, His initiative (not our cleverness or work!). God does this in us, making it possible for us to be Seeking to Worship and Seeking to Serve (see v10, and Paul's own self-summary of service in Acts 20:35). We thus we stay close to Jesus and be led out in His mission. All this but because of God's love and rich mercy.