Paul's story is such an amazing one of grace, forgiveness, and complete dedication to spreading the Good News of Jesus. This week women from all over the world began the e-book “Glorious Grace” - a study guiding us to dig into and hear God's voice as we look deep into Ephesians. I was super excited about this study. Seven years ago I began to memorize the entire book of Ephesians. I only got half way, and I hope to finish someday, but those words from Paul are always with me. I find my mind almost daily starting “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus...” It's there. Stuck in my mind. But not only do I want to be able to quick rattle off chapter 1, I am looking forward to gleaning Truths and Promises from the book of Ephesians.
This week we took an overview glance of Paul's life. What a transformation! From actively seeking to destroy believers to a life completely sold out for Christ we see God's forgiveness and choosing. God saw through the hate and sins to a man who could use that drive and passion for Christ's name. He chose, forgave, and changed Saul/Paul from the inside out.
Paul was “all in” with God's calling on his life. He lived sold out for Christ, fearlessly doing whatever it took to complete his mission of declaring the Good News. His mission was to spread the good news and build up the body of believers. In Ephesians we see him encouraging, building up, and showing us how he prayed passionately for those believers. I just love reading Paul's heart felt prayers.
My challenge from this week came from Paul's example and purpose to share his faith, to share the Truth. I reflected on my own life. I work in a church and spend the rest of my time raising my family quietly at home. It's so easy to live in that “Christian bubble” of comfort just doing our lives and sharing my faith with my kids. That's awesome and truly has meaning, but there should be more, don't you think? Am I so sold out for Christ that I spread his truth to the unbelieving neighborhood/city I live in? Do I know how to share my faith? Do I know Christ' message so well that I would know what to say if I started a conversation?
Our recent move took us to new a neighborhood school and I'll admit at the back to school night I felt the culture shock of being in a community that wasn't just all proper or preppy people where most of them loved Jesus. I didn't know what to think. “Should I protect my children from these people” flooded my mind I'm ashamed to say. But now I see that we have just entered the real world. Poverty and hurting people are all around us. I have a message of hope and truth that I can live out in front of parents and our community without fear, or I can just live under the radar rushing to and from school not interacting with this group of people who seem quite out of my comfort zone. What an opportunity to teach my children to “let their lights shine before men.” To live for Christ and know and share their faith when the time comes. To love even the unlovable as Christ did! And as Paul did!
My knees might be trembling, but I commit right now to love as Christ and Paul did looking for opportunities to shine for Him, sharing my faith throughout my neighborhood.
I love this method of studying the Bible. The Glorious Grace study guide isn't filled with mini sermons. Rather you will find verses to study each week and prompts to get you pulling out truths, promises, and commands from God's Word. Would you like to join me? Pick up your e-copy here. I'll be journaling each Friday here would love to have you join me.