Terry’s chocolate oranges abound in our house at Christmas time. I’m not sure why we don’t buy them at other times of the year, but we don’t. We may have to buy extra this Christmas because according to the press the size of the Terry’s chocolate orange has shrunk. (I apologise to my American friends but the UK press have blamed America.) I doubt very much that the price will be reduced in line with the smaller chocolate orange, but isn’t this how manufacturers increase their profits covertly?
Then while walking home this afternoon I noticed that the 30 mph signs in Ginhall Lane also appear to be shrinking. The posts are certainly shorter than they used to be. Perhaps they’ll disappear into the ground altogether eventually? Then as I left Ginhall Lane to walk on the path behind the estate were I live I noticed how much the path has shrunk over the years. Before long it may disappear as well.
Shrinkage doesn’t have to be part of our lives. Yes, as we get older maybe we should eat a bit less and exercise a bit more to ensure that we maintain our waistlines and our weight. That’s why I was out walking. But while we hope that increasing age does not inevitably mean increasing girth, we need also to consider our spiritual width and weight. Are we growing spiritually or getting smaller?
This morning and yesterday morning I have been challenged by the words of Brennan Manning in the Reflections for Ragamuffins devotional that I have used for many years. I continue to use this devotional for the very reason that it challenges me. The entries in Reflections for Ragamuffin for the last two days both ended with verses from Ephesians 5.
And that is how I found myself working through Ephesians 5, verse by verse this morning, writing down some of the key points in my journal as a personal challenge and as a reminder that I should be growing in God rather than skulking in the spiritual nursery, hiding from the Teacher. Here are some of the things I wrote, in no particular order:
- Imitate God in everything you do.
- Live a life filled with love.
- Let there be no impurity or sexual immorality in you.
- Carefully determine what pleases God.
- Be careful how you live.
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Give thanks for everything.
- Understand what the Lord wants you to do.
I think Ephesians 5 is probably a good place to start every morning.