God’s Plan and Purpose
Ephesians 3:7-13 ESV
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all ministers of his gospel to the world around us, for even our very lives speak of the riches of his grace to us. And, our tongues are to proclaim Him and His gospel to the ends of the earth. Yet, we are to proclaim his gospel in its fullness (the whole counsel of God), and we are not to cut it short so as not to offend people out of fear that they may reject us, for their eternal destiny is at stake here.
As His ministers, we are to be humble in all that we do, and we are not to become proud or haughty. For, all that we have received we have received from God and not from ourselves. So, all the glory should go to God for anything which he does through our lives, i.e. which we do through his strength and power within us. We should take no glory for ourselves – no credit should go to us for God’s work of redemption in our lives.
The purpose of us sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is so that many people will come to know our Lord in His fullness, that they would be delivered from their slavery to sin, and that they would be given new lives in Christ Jesus to walk in his righteousness and holiness the rest of their days. For, this is why Jesus died on that cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He did not die merely so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. His grace to us is freedom from slavery to sin, not just forgiveness.
As followers of Jesus Christ, and as ministers of his gospel, if we are truly following him in surrender to his will for our lives, and if we are living according to his will and purposes for our lives, and if we are sharing his gospel with others, we will be called upon also to suffer for the sake of his name. For, the gospel message is an offense to those who are perishing in their sins. But, the sad reality here is that it seems to also be an offense to many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, too, and that should not be!
To Know the Love of Christ
Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV
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.
Oh, how we need his strength and power! We need them in our inner being, i.e. in our minds, our emotions, our attitudes, and in our hearts (passion). I know I do! For, we grow tired. We have days when we are mentally and emotionally weak. We have days when the sufferings we are going through are overwhelming us, and so we call on him through our tears. Some days all we can say is “HELP!” And, that’s ok. For, he hears our cries, and he comes to the rescue, and he gives us what we need to keep going.
When we have those days when we are weak physically and/or emotionally, Satan will try to take advantage of us and to put doubts in our minds or to falsely accuse us of stuff we are not doing wrong. He will mess with our minds and he will try to confuse us and to make us afraid. He will attempt to get us to focus our minds on our misery so that we lose our joy, too. And, our faith may begin to grow weak. So, we need to call on our Lord during these times so that we are revived in spirit and in faith and in perseverance.
When we go through these times of weakness, Satan will try to cast doubts in our minds, too, regarding God’s love for us, and with regard to his promises and his perfect will and plan for our lives and his sovereignty over our lives. He will try to convince us that God is weak or that we need to fear what humans may do to us. But, God is not weak! And, he is absolutely all powerful!! And, he is still on the throne and is in control over all that he has created, and his purposes can never be thwarted by anything or anyone!
So, we need to call out to God in our weaknesses, and we need to ask him to speak truth to our hearts so that we can combat Satan’s lies against us, and so we can be assured of God’s love for us and of his power to sustain us and to carry us through every trial, all for the glory and praise of God!
He is Able!
Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
I love this promise! Doesn’t it encourage your heart? It does mine! But, it is not a blank check, signed by our Lord, for us to fill in whatever we want. He will do far more abundantly than all that we could ask or think, but according to his power at work within us, and for his glory. He is able to do far beyond what we could even begin to imagine or even know to pray for, but it will be only what is in accord with his will and his purposes for our lives.
I also noticed here that it says, “according to the power at work within us.” What this says to me is God will give us everything we need to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him. He will give us the strength and the wisdom to obey him, and to follow his will for our lives. He will help us and heal us and nurture us and equip us. He will supply all that we need, but we have to tap into that strength and power. We have to draw on his wisdom, and walk in his love and grace, and submit to his purposes, and surrender to his will.
In other words, if we are lacking in strength, willpower, faith, and courage, etc., he will supply what we need, but only according to his will and purposes. But, we still have to act on what he gives us. For, many people remain bound in their sins, recycling the same sins over and over again, NOT because God is not able, but because they are not willing to submit to the Lord and to his purposes, and to surrender their lives over to him to walk in his ways and in his truth.
For, the power of the cross of Christ, of his gospel, is that he died to set us free from slavery to sin and to free us to walk in his holiness, all in his strength and power within us, but only as we yield to his purposes and cooperate with his plan. He will supply all that we need, and he will perform many miracles of his grace in our lives, but we have to do what he says.
We have to say “YES!” to Jesus and “NO!” to sin, including saying “NO!” to fear or to discouragement. And, we have to walk by faith, in his power and strength, and then we will see the miracles of his grace being realized in our lives. Amen! For, it is all a matter of whether or not we truly believe what we say we believe, for if we do, our lifestyles should show it. For, our lives give evidence to the reality of what we truly believe, not to just what we say.
Broken and Contrite
An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.
Monday, July 9, 2018, 3:00 a.m. – Thank You, Jesus, for dying for our sins, and for all that you supply us to walk daily in your holiness. Amen!