[box] Every Saturday morning, I will be sharing a little snippet from my own personal walk with God...straight from the heart. God has work to do in me too, and sometimes it's not pretty. But my prayer is that as I am honest, He is more able to do that work in me...and at the same time, encourage you as well. [/box] "To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given..."--Eph. 3:8a
This week, I have been reading through Ephesians 3:1-13, a section that I had to study in depth over the course of a semester for my Bible study methods class. At that time, it was an academic exercise, as I sought to get an A for my work. So when I got to this passage this week, I wanted to approach it not as a study for my mind, but a message for my heart.
Over the past few months, I have noticed that a lot of old beliefs and patterns have been cropping up in my life: fear of speaking up because I am afraid of what people might think, angry outbursts when others fail to reach my standards, focusing on externals over internals. As I have spent less and less time at the feet of Jesus, I have reverted more and more to my old habits.
In the past couple of months, I have had to discipline myself to get back into the Word---not merely to teach it to others, but because I so desperately needed it. I had gone off track and my soul was crying from the assault it was taking from the enemy. I am not one to blame every hardship on Satan or see a devil behind every bush, but I am sensing in my soul that this is not just ordinary fare but spiritual warfare.
Over the past week, through this passage, I think the Lord has been using the apostle Paul to mentor me. I have realized that when my thinking is wrong, all else follows in my life. Although it doesn't guarantee that right thinking will give me a problem-free life, it does help to eliminate some issues that I bring on myself simply because I have not been focusing on the truth.
This morning, as I was reading, I realized how much I am focused on myself. All the fears, the anger, the focus on what I look like before others, all revolves around me. On the contrary, Paul knows that he is the "very least of all the saints" but it is only because he is comparing himself with his God. That is a very different distinction. When my comparison is other believers, then I either feel like I need to prove myself or I wallow in self-pity and feel like dirt.
However, when I let God be the center or my point of reference, I will still see my sinfulness, smallness, and weakness, but my perspective is different. Instead of looking down on myself in shame and anger, I am swept up in the amazing fact that my God sees who I am and still wants me! He has chosen me. He has forgiven me. He has accepted me and made me His own child. He has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He has brought me into His family and equipped me with all I need to live a life of godliness, purpose and effectiveness. He has given me a place in the church, with a special good work to do that will help the church reflect His fullness and glory.
If I let Him become my reality and not the world around me, I can say with Paul that indeed, I am the very least of all the saints, but also look in wonder that my God has given me something that I could never attain on my own. He has poured grace upon grace on me and I am beloved in Him. Not that I deserved it or earned it, but simply because He is love.
I so need to be reminded of this now. Not just as a one-time thing, but saturated, immersed, filled to overflowing with this truth. There is so much still ahead, and unless this is ingrained into the very fabric of my soul, I will not be able to stand up under it.
Heavenly Father, You know what I need this day. Thank You for the power of your Word that pierces into my soul and reveals it to me. I need You to transform my mind so that I may live in right relationship with You and with those around me. Keep me in the shadow of your wings this day, worshipping You and filling my consciousness with You. Thank You for your amazing love that would love one as small and weak as I. Thank You for bringing me into Your family, for giving me a place to belong, and for blessing me with work to do. I am Yours. In the name of Jesus, my beloved Savior, Amen.