Knowing What To Live For
Lord Jesus, You are my Friend and Redeemer, and the reason my life has meaning. I lift up Your name in praise.
Read EPHESIANS 3:1–13
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
New International Version (NIV)
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The humorist Ricky Gervais describes the best piece of advice he has received: “Nobody else knows what they are doing either.” When it comes to the biggest issues of what we are living for, many people muddle along, doing what they think best. Is this enough for the Christian?
These autobiographical verses, written in a prison cell, show just how much Paul knows what he is doing. When he chooses the word “mystery” (3,4,6,9) to describe his fresh insight, he emphasizes that what was concealed to previous generations is now wide-open truth. In his lifetime, the Spirit has revealed what was once thought impossible, that God is bringing together Gentiles and Jews into one church through Jesus Christ. This future, once unimaginable, of a new people will confront a muddled world and hostile spiritual authorities (10) with God’s wise purpose. “Boundless riches” (8), literally “not to be tracked out,” nevertheless are intensely practical as we shall see in chapters 4–6. This is how God intends people to live rich lives in his way.
This high purpose changes everything for Paul. Yes, it means opposition (1) and chains, but telling this Good News gives the apostle his reason for living. Note his humility (8), his servant attitude (7) and his dependence on God’s grace and power. Those qualities remain vital for anyone who shares God’s Good News
Of course, Paul’s place in God’s story is unique. Yet, we too belong in this unfolding mystery of belonging in God’s working out his big idea for the whole world. This unfolded mystery gives the overarching and encouraging perspective to all of our work, play and relationships. Instead of church being something we go to, church means living for God’s big purpose with freedom and confidence (12).
How would you describe what you are living for?
“Make me to remember, O God, that every day is Your gift and ought to be used according to Your command” (Samuel Johnson, 1709–1784). Lord, this is my prayer for today.