Lessons Learned and Wisdom Gained

I want you to meditate on this following scripture:

For this  reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of  Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:14-9

According to Paul, the big theme of this passage is knowing Jesus by being filled with Him and His love.  Paul is using family language as he says “I bow my knees before the Father”.   When it comes to the Body of Christ, we are called to be God’s family by assignment – not by convenience.

WE ARE GOD’S FAMILY BY ASSIGNMENT, NOT CONVENIENCE.

Growing up without a Dad, my birth certificate read Silva; however, it later got changed to Shimabukuro, which did not seem convenient to me as a kindergartener learning to write.  During my son Kai’s teenage years, we had a big argument, and he threatened to change his last name when he moved to the mainland.  Well now he is back and selling women’s shoes at Nordstrom.  He is now reaping the benefits of his long Japanese last name because a lot of Japanese tourist shoppers now patronize him!

Through the name and blood of Christ, we have a relationship with the Father that is unbroken because of His love for us.  God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jess Christ.  This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.  Ephesians 1:5

God decided in advance, to adopt us through Jesus Christ.  It gave God great pleasure to adopt us into His family.  Therefore, don’t try to go incognito when it is inconvenient.  Sometimes we may shy away from speaking His name in public or at work.  Don’t be incognito, bear the name of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners.  You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people.  You are members of God’s family. Ephesians 2:19

Sometimes I treat other citizens of God, other members of God’s family as strangers instead of as members of God’s family.  If we understand that we are called to be a member of His family by His assignment –whether it be corporately as a church, within our biological families, or with our relationships, then we are partnering with Him, and He is partnering with us.

Don’t run away from your marriages, or from relationships with people closest to you.  In your heart, don’t divorce your parents. Don’t vandalize and trash relationships because it takes more work and time to clean up the messes of that destruction.  Remember, we are God’s family by assignment, and not by convenience.

COMMIT TO LEARNING AND UNLEARNING… TOGETHER.

For the past 30 years I have been learning to live as a new creation in Christ.  This includes unlearning some old ways and bad habits that I have.  How do we learn to live? The answer is from God.  True wisdom and real power belong to God; from Him we learn how to live, and also what to live for. Job 12:13

The Bible book mark is a reminder for all of us to read the Word of God.  Let’s now make it a duty to do so.  Let’s not get so check-list oriented in our devotions.  Instead, let’s keep our relationship with Him on-going.

A wise man will hear and increase in learning. And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel. Proverbs 1:5-6

Another passage says, Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of God, insight into life from knowing a Holy God.  It’s through me, wisdom, that our life deepens, and the years of your life ripen.  Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life; mock life and life will mock you. Proverbs 9: 10-12  This passage is saying that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Thirteen years ago, when I first came to New Hope from a mainland church and culture, I had to relearn and adjust to a new life-style.  In the process, I got out of shape and put on 20 pounds from over indulging in my eating. Therefore, I had to unlearn unhealthy habits and learn some good ones.

What areas of life is God speaking to you about to change?  What do you need to learn and unlearn?

The above article is adapted from a sermon from New Hope Oahu’s Pastor Rod Shimabukuro. You can find  the unabridged transcript, and the entire host of New Hope Sermons, here.