“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3
The apostle Paul always knew who he was and what he was called to do – for good and for bad. Prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus, he was a Pharisee committed to protecting and upholding the Jewish faith. He fervently embraced his perceived calling to destroy all those who proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Messiah and who continued to build his church. That was, until Paul actually encountered Jesus. In a blazing light that knocked him to the ground and blinded him, Paul (then Saul) met the risen Lord, the very Messiah he denied. From that moment on, Paul’s identity completely changed. He was no longer Saul, Pharisee of Pharisees, but rather Paul, the least of the apostles. Upon beholding Jesus, Paul saw himself from a new, divine perspective and it changed everything: his life, identity, calling, and ministry!
Paul wrote his letter to the church in Ephesus from a Roman prison cell. Notice how his divine perspective informed his writing. He didn’t bemoan his situation or complain about being held captive by the Roman government. Instead, Paul referred to himself as a prisoner for the Lord. He believed in the absolute sovereignty of God and trusted his purpose and plan. Paul knew that he belonged to an authority far greater than any Roman official.
The apostle could easily have gotten mired down in the abuses and humiliations of his captivity. Instead, God’s perspective opened his eyes to the opportunities that surrounded him, even in jail. He preached to the Roman guards, reaching an entirely new audience. He wrote to the Ephesians, nurturing their fledgling faith and (though he did not know it yet) the faith of Christians for centuries to come. Maybe he was able to receive visitors and pray for others with better focus and presence. In all things, Paul trusted in God’s sovereign plan and purpose, and he sought to work according to that plan and purpose.
Do you also seek God’s divine perspective in all things – your health, relationships, work environment, challenges, finances, etc.? Trusting in God’s sovereignty can change everything in your life, just as it did Paul’s. Like the apostle, you can come to believe and profess that God works all things for good for those who trust him (Romans 8:28).
Reflect and Respond:
How is the Lord calling you to adopt a new, divine perspective on situations in your life? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the Living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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