DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-07-13
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: Ephesians 1:16-19
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)
BIBLE TEXT: 16-17 I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you wisdom to see clearly and really understand who Christ is and all that he has done for you. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can see something of the future he has called you to share. I want you to realize that God has been made rich because we who are Christ’s have been given to him! 19 I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him…
OBSERVATION: I bet that most of my readers will probably say that there are multiple things that they would ask God to give them wisdom to understand, or resolve. However, as we meditate on the Word today, I trust that we will understand why Paul’s plea for the Ephesian church was that ‘they would grow in wisdom to understand Christ more’.
APPLICATION: Some of the things that we might beg for wisdom in, might be things like: to understand my spouse better!; to find the right job; to make more money; to know how to help people who are struggling in life; to be able to lead the church better; to understand more about COVID 19 and how to best avoid it; etc, etc. I’m sure that you have probably thought of a ton of things that you could add to the list of needing more wisdom in, and I believe you would find that’s pretty normal. But I believe that as we examine Paul’s desire for the Ephesian church, you and I will understand better why desiring to know Christ more fully, might help us keep our priorities in order and our worries centered around what’s really important in life. Notice that Paul just praised the church for how well they were doing in getting along – a huge achievement then and now! But Paul went on to tell them what he is praying for. Friends, having served in church leadership, I can tell you that there are times that church leaders are absolutely stumped on how to deal with some of the circumstances that arise among its members, its finances, its future, its growth and especially to make sure that its ministry is aligned with God’s will for His church at that time. There is never a time that church leaders are not totally dependent on the leader of the church – Christ. I have no reason to believe that Paul just ignored those things in his mission to help the Ephesian church, but what Paul shared with them, could very easily be shared and adapted by our churches today. Further on in chapter 1 Paul teaches us that God placed Christ as head of the church, so whenever we think about, or begin to worry about, advice on how to help the church, isn’t it easy to see that what he was really saying is that you really need to understand, and draw close to Christ? After all, why look for ways to resolve issues in the church, until you seek God on how to draw the church closer to Him (Christ) as its leader? Why look at ministry growth opportunities, unless you ask God to first of all grow the church spiritually? The church will head towards disaster without Christ as its focus and without knowing that He has led you into accomplishing His will through ministering more effectively to your growing community. Why look at ways to fill your church, if its only to entertain them and make them feel good. If Christ is truly our leader, as the Word declares, then we should thank God for giving us increased ability to minister to the ones that He is bringing through our doors, so that He may rule and reign in their hearts. Friends, as a child of the King, and as a member of His church, unless you are striving to know Him better and follow His example inside the church and outside its doors, and unless you aim to share God’s love with any and all that may come through your church doors, then Paul’s prayer may be one that we repeat often. For unless we honor Christ – the head of our church, in all that we do, we are merely meeting for a social event hoping that we’ll feel better in just being together. I believe we can look at this in another way. We may be concerned about the condition of our marriage, and we might look at many, many different ways to correct the issues, but as a child of the most high God, unless we draw close to God, and invite Him to rule and reign in our personal lives and in our marriage, then we are doing no more than the unbeliever in trying to seek a godly resolution to our issues. We may love to see our church buildings filled to capacity, and we may dream of exquisite, new, multimillion dollar buildings that may house even more people, but unless we acknowledge Christ as the chief head of our church, and that our purpose for meeting is to win the lost and grow the saved, then the new building will be nothing more than any other group meeting place where folk show up for fun and/or entertainment. Let’s remember, Jesus Christ hung on a cross voluntarily, so that we might have the means of seeking forgiveness of our sin and therefore a chance to enter heaven’s gates. I am convinced that, as head of our church, Christ would prefer that we not waste one minute in pointing attendees to the cross, to the forgiveness of sin that only Christ could offer. When our churches fill up with folk who accept our mission and make decisions regularly towards changed lives, then I believe God will open the doors of heaven and grant us His grace to build bigger buildings to accommodate the flow of people interested in following through on what we preach and teach. If our church is not all about Christ, then we should question who we have permitted to take over leadership from the Lord Jesus Christ. With Christ in His proper role, and the rest of us as servants of the Most High, I believe that then we could watch the church flourish as kingdom work is achieved. This is what we really need wisdom to identify, act on, and insist upon, God being our Helper and constant Guide.
PRAYER: Dear God, please forgive us for not allowing You to maintain Your assigned leadership in our places of worship, in our personal lives, in our families and in our day-to-day relationships. We were reminded today that Christ is the head of the church – please may our respective churches be no exception, nor one to have ousted You and replaced You with one of our own. We can’t get this order messed up, if we expect You to flourish in Your assigned role. We are merely wasting our time and providing a social atmosphere for our members. Lord, we want our friends, family and members to know You intimately. We want them to surrender to Your leadership. Please fill us with wisdom for the things of God. We are Yours and want nothing more than to see others know You as well. May we follow in obedience and submission so that You may work in our midst, for Your glory and praise. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!