Summary: Discover the five steps to moving from avoidable major mistakes in our lives to God’s best for our lives.
This morning, I want us to look at avoidable major mistakes. For instance, many spend a great deal of time training for our career but spend almost no time in developing their marriage and family. As a result, they have weak or strained relationships with family members. This mistake is major, but it is also avoidable when sufficient time and resources are given to address the problem.
Another avoidable major mistake many make is working hard to reach goals for possessing a certain car, a certain house or a certain level of financial wealth, without working hard to figure out what life is really about. We get up each morning to go to work, in order to make money enough to buy a house, where we sleep, so that we can get up each morning to go to work, in order to make enough money to buy a house, where we sleep, so that we can get up each morning to go to work.
Fred Smith reminds us that we make blood in order to live; we do not live in order to make blood. One of the biggest blunders human beings make is that we are keeping ourselves alive without knowing why we should.
This morning, we will continue our study of the letter from the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Ephesus. Paul is writing from a prison cell, and if you remember, he was in prison not for a civil or criminal violation. He was arrested for his faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:1-10.
Paul in these ten verses retraces the journey of people, including himself, who moved from their avoidable major mistakes in life to God’s best for their lives. Let’s look together at the five steps for moving from our blunders to God’s best.
Step one: We need to admit we have a problem. Verse 1
When Paul speaks of people being dead in our transgressions and sins, He’s not writing to a bunch of biologically dead people. Paul is speaking about spiritual death or life apart from God, and living life apart from God is a big problem. Yet many pretend that there is no problem. They believe that hard work, technology, psychology and education can replace God in our lives.
In Genesis 3, we read that the first man and first woman, Adam and Eve, lived without regard for God’s instruction, and God kicked them out of His presence. God didn’t allow Adam and Eve to just leave His presence without giving them reminders that life apart from God is a big mistake. God made Adam’s work and Eve’s childbearing painful.
The daily stress, frustration and breakdowns at our work are meant to remind us that everything is not okay. The fact that our wives are the only ones in the animal kingdom that requires an epidural is meant to remind us that everything is not okay. Everything is not okay. We are separated from God.
Whether you are a counselor, a friend or a coworker, your effectiveness in helping others requires that they first admit they have a problem. If they deny that they have a problem or want to cover up their problem, they never move toward a solution. People only move toward God’s best for their lives, when they admit that life without God is a problem. God helps those who admit they need help.
Step two: We need to understand the cause of our problem. Verse 2 and 3a
Paul tells us that the causes for separation from God are one, our sinful nature; two, the ways of this world; and three, Satan, the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Let me briefly explain each and how each separates us from God.
First, our "sinful nature" is the tendency in us to distrust God. Throughout the Bible, "faith in God" or trust in God is held up as the highest quality of mankind in God’s eyes. Yet mankind distrusts God, which makes intimacy with God impossible. This lack of trust in God is one of the causes for our separation from God.
Second, the "ways of this world" are the values and the philosophies of the world. The world values what is seen, our appearance and abilities. God values what is unseen, our right motives and good works done in secret. The world’s philosophy says, "Love things and use people." God says, "Love people and use things." Conflicts in values make intimacy impossible. Not agreeing with God’s values is another cause for our separation from God.
Third, Satan is the spirit of deception and destruction. Jesus said John 8:44 that Satan is the originator of lies, and in John 10:10 that Satan’s motive is to kill and destroy. Whenever we live in a spirit of deception and destruction, instead of truth and love, we live separate from God.