Working from home is a challenge on many different levels. How can we re-train our brains to be productive in a space we cultivated for rest? What is the right balance between completing all our tasks and taking advantage of the opportunity to be with our family, without neglecting either? How high can my pile of dirty dishes get before I am a bad leader? So many questions, so much time, and yet, not very clear answers. But worry not! Apostle Paul has a thing or two to teach us in his letter to the Ephesian church. Let’s look at Ephesians 5 together.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quoted is from HCSB.
¨Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—¨ (verse 15)
God has promised us wisdom for every day, which is why it’s so important to seek Him every morning for our daily wisdom-fill. Remember, He is the God who makes a way. Is your to-do list feeling like a consuming Red Sea? Are your finances looking more like the wilderness than the Promised Land? God is an expert in parting seas, making water gush out of a rock, restoring families, and healing the sick. There is wisdom for you today, wisdom to parent, to lead, and to grow. There is also grace to walk, because that is the command God has given us. You can’t walk two steps at a time, so why try to live two days at a time? ¨Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own¨ – Jesus (Matthew 6:34).
¨Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes.¨ (verse 16 TPT)
Ask yourself: What is God wanting me to do today? What is He expecting of me? Verse 17 of the same chapter says, ¨So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.¨ We make the most of our days by giving priority to God’s purposes. Lean into what He has determined for this season, and trust He will walk you through it. Writing your to-do list the night before will help you wake up with a game plan. When making a to-do list, it’s important to filter our tasks through our priorities. I like to make a big to-do list for the week on Sunday nights with the following categories: Pray For, Personal, Family/Home, Ministry, School, and Work. I then make a shorter, daily to-do list every night. This helps me have a clear picture of my goals based on my priorities, without feeling overwhelmed.
¨And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit.¨ (verse 18)
For some, these months have provided much needed rest, for others it has presented an opportunity to do things differently, and for many it has increased the weight of responsibility. Whatever your case might be, you and I need to fill ourselves with the right things during this time. Primarily, that means to be filled with the presence and Word of God. As a global community, we have been connecting every week to the seminars and have received God’s fullness through messages delivered by great men and women of God. (They are still available here if you’d like to listen to them again.) It is also important to eat well, drink water, get some sunshine, and breathe fresh air. Let us not forget that we are spiritual beings who live in a fleshly body, but this body is the only one we´re getting so let’s take care of it! Before jumping into work or chores, stretch or do a workout in your living room and get your blood pumping. Gift yourself with strength, mobility, and nourishing foods. It is also important to fill our homes with everything good: worship, love, affection, service, and kindness. Oh that we would take this time to renovate our homes into altars of worship for God!
¨Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord.¨ (verse 19)
Worship is a lifestyle, surely you´ve learned that in the months we have not been able to gather in our church buildings. Notice that Paul is saying we are to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. This means the way we speak to our family and the conversations we have in the corners of our mind matter. Worship is not limited to musical instruments; let our words to each other be lyrics of praise to God, let our tone be the melody of genuine worship, and let our private acts of service be the rhythm of our quarantine soundtrack.
¨Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.¨ (verse 20)
Take a gratitude break! A few years ago, I began cultivating the habit of gratitude by starting and ending every day with gratitude. How about taking a seven minute break to jot down and then read out loud what you are grateful for? Gratitude and laughter are mini vacations we can take throughout our day, so take them!
¨Submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.¨ (verse 21)
We are blessed to be part of a house that feeds and protects us. Part of reaching the success we desire is submitting to one another. There is a special blessing reserved for those who stay connected, or in the words of Jesus, “those who abide” (John 15). Why is it important to participate in a cell group every week, tune in to the livestreams, and stay connected? Because as we hear the Word of God, our faith grows, when we pray with others, our inner man is strengthened. Missing out on these opportunities is like missing a meal, you can only miss so many meals while working before your body stops. It works the same way with our spirit and soul, there are only so many ¨meals¨ we can miss before our mood changes, fear´s voice gets louder than Truth´s, and we get irritated with our family. Submission is a gift, it also makes up part of the path to a blessed life. We can submit to our pastors by logging into Zooms 10 minutes before, by sharing their posts, replying to their texts, praying for them, and making sure they know they have our support. We can submit to those in our home by making them greater than ourselves, serving them before we serve ourselves, making them feel loved with the little day to day things, and most importantly, praying and showing affection.
the six practical tips Paul left us for working, church-ing, and doing life from home:
- Ask for wisdom.
- Make a purposeful to-do list.
- Fill your tank with all the GOOD.
- Worship with your life.
- Take gratitude breaks.
- Stay connected and serve.
¨Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.¨