At All Saints Dallas we have been looking at Ephesians this summer, specifically asking the question, “What does it mean to be human?” As many of you know, several passages in Ephesians contain remarks that are sometimes controversial and often misunderstood. For example, what does it mean “to be filled with the Holy Spirit” and to be “giving thanks always and for everything to God the father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
What does St. Paul mean when he says we need to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit? So many of us are unacquainted with the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, or even who or what the Holy Spirit is much less how to be filled by it. So we have particularly focused on aspects of the Holy Spirit and how it transforms our hearts and minds both in relationship to God and other people. In order to be fully human this transformation must constantly be taking place.
In Christ, God reveals us to ourselves. Christ not only shows us what it means to be fully human but also gives us the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts in such a way that we are actually falling in love with God, closer and closer to the divine. One of the results of a heart that is growing in maturity and transformation in the Holy Spirit is that there will be a mutual submission to each other out of the fear of Christ. Out of awe and reverence for him there comes a humility that permeates our attitude, our being, our humanness.
This maturity takes place in people who have the courage to look upward to God, who is always sovereign, always true. And also to look inward, to take care of our own hearts, guarding against the evil that constantly battles us in this world.
Because we live in such an irreverent and individualistic world these words of St. Paul seem so countercultural. To fear and reverence Christ and to look to the needs of others before ourselves is not at all what our culture teaches.
Stay on the journey to wholeness as you hear, reflect, trust and love more.