The book of Ephesians is an enormously instructive part of the New Testament. Written by Paul or one of his disciples, it provides a comprehensive overview of the most important messages of Christ and the principles required to live a faith-centered life at any age.
Therefore, studying Ephesians in your assisted living community is an effective way to strengthen your faith as a Christian senior. Here are some of the most powerful lessons from Ephesians for older adults.
Ephesians provides counsel on relationships between parents and children, and the wisdom goes both ways. Regarding children's behavior, Ephesians 6:1-4 instructs us to "obey your parents in the Lord." However, it also asks parents not to "exasperate" their offspring but instead to "bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
This wisdom can help us achieve more harmonious relationships with the people we love the most. It reminds younger generations to respect the views and learn from the experience of older family members in assisted living communities under the Bethesda Assisted Living Communities umbrella. However, it also inspires seniors to treat their children (and grandchildren) well and aims to provide a powerful example of a faith-based lifestyle.
How does this advice apply to assisted living community members without children or grandchildren? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to share your love for Jesus and scriptural knowledge with younger generations. For example, you could consider volunteering with a local Christian youth service to help younger Christian community members grow in their faith.
Trusting in God's providence is one of the central themes in the book of Ephesians, and Ephesians 6:10-20 provides a beautifully vivid metaphor to encourage us. In this passage, Paul implores us to "put on the full armor of God," evoking the images of the "sword of the Spirit," "the shield of faith," and the "belt of truth," among others. It reminds us that God's power always conquers human strength, but it also prompts us to use the central tenets of Christianity to defeat evil and wrongdoing.
This powerful message tells Christian seniors and their families of God's protection in times of trouble and emphasizes the power of prayer at every stage of our lives. Furthermore, it underlines that maintaining the fundamental principles from Christ's teaching, such as truth and faith, is the best way to overcome challenges.
Ephesians 5:1 neatly distills the core message of Ephesians into a single sentence:
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children."
During the 1990s, you might have worn a bracelet bearing the letters WWJD: "What Would Jesus Do?" These words are another excellent way to summarize Ephesians 5:1. The passage invites us to follow Christ's example and ways in everything we do to embody God's plan for us as closely as possible.
How can we apply Ephesians 5:1 to our everyday lives? Fortunately, the New Testament provides countless examples of exactly what Jesus would do in a broad range of situations that are still relevant to modern life. Therefore, studying Christ's life by reading, discussing and interpreting the New Testament provides a comprehensive road map for a faith-based lifestyle. Reading Ephesians specifically also provides a valuable summary of Christ's core teachings whenever we need a refresher.
If you became a Christian as a teenager or adult, the concept of rebirth through Christ is probably familiar. Ephesians 4:20-24 says to "put off your old self" and, later, to "put on the new self." In other words, following Jesus allows Christians to set aside sinful behavior and start anew.
However, this wisdom applies just as much to lifelong Christians as it does to people who come to Christ later in life. Even the most faithful believers can sometimes stray from God's path, and Ephesians 4 reminds us that we can "put on the new self" and make a fresh start at any point in our faith journey. Therefore, focusing on this passage can help if you find yourself dwelling on past mistakes and encourage you to look forward to a bright future.
Another astonishing image in the book of Ephesians is the building together of Christians to "become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit" (Ephesians 2:19-22). In other words, you are part of a network of Christians forming a temple of God, and in turn, God lives in each member. If you've ever felt isolated, it can be comforting to remember that you belong in a community of Christians — even while you're praying or studying the Bible alone in your assisted living suite.
Another important aspect of Ephesians 2:19-22 is the concept of unity in the church and of every member playing their part to strengthen the whole. Therefore, it can remind Christian seniors that they are a crucial and indispensable part of their local, national, and global Christian community. Becoming an active part of the religious life of your community is an excellent way to reflect this teaching.