Not From the World but From Our Lord
Written by: Kailee Potgeter
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When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles... assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me.
- Ephesians 3:1-3
The book of Ephesians is a letter written by the apostle Paul. This section in Ephesians 3 begins with Paul explaining the calling that the Lord has given him. God called Paul to preach in Rome, knowing that his words would cause hatred and put Paul in danger. But Paul boldly accepts his calling.
In this particular passage, Paul refers to himself as a “prisoner of Christ Jesus.” At the time Paul was under house arrest in Rome for preaching about Christ. The religious leaders of Jerusalem did not trust that Christ was the Messiah, and felt threatened by Paul’s teachings. The Romans made a case to arrest Paul and accuse him of treason. But Paul appealed for his case to be heard by the emperor. Paul wrote Ephesians 3 while he was awaiting his trial.
Even while Paul was in the middle of this trial, his faith in God never wavered. He did not know what the outcome of his trial would look like, but it didn’t matter. His faith in God’s plan was strong enough to withstand the punishments and cruelties of this world. We can all use this lesson from Paul, especially in today’s society. There are so many unknowns in this world, and it can feel like things are never going to get better. But true peace and happiness does not come from this world, it comes from our Lord who promises to deliver us from evil and the wicked ways of this world.
Not only does Paul stand firm in his faith, but he continues to live out his calling. He found new ways to preach to the people and share the good news. He began to write letters and pour out the Word of God in different manners. God calls him to “extend his grace to you Gentiles… God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me” (vs 2-3).
Paul admits that God’s plan is a mystery to him, he wasn’t sure whether he would be thrown in jail, or persecuted for his beliefs. However, that doesn’t affect his actions. He continues to preach what God has put on his heart. Paul’s faith is so admirable, and a great example of what we are called to do. But this can be so much easier said than done. It’s easy to preach God’s Word when we are in accepting company. But when others feel differently and might have different opinions it can become so much harder to stand up for what we believe in. But these are only opportunities to have faith in the God who grants peace and strength. The God who knows all our fears and anxieties wants to take them off our shoulders, so we all can have strength like Paul.
1. Has God ever called you to walk down a path you didn’t want to? How did that feel?
2. Are there opportunities in your life to be like Paul and preach to those around you who may need to experience the love of Jesus?
God, thank You for being a God who stays by my side through times of doubt and times of joy. Lord, I know that You have an amazing and mysterious plan for my life and I pray that You give me the strength to obey Your commands and live my life the way You intended me to. Amen.
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