Paul has been delegated by God to preach. He actively chose Paul according to His eternal purpose. God used Paul to deliver His message to the consecrated followers of Jesus, those who had believed and were trustworthy and true to the cause of Christ. Most translations attribute this letter as addressed to the church at Ephesus, but many important manuscripts do not include ‘at Ephesus’, so it seems apparent that the letter was intended for a much wider distribution. Since it is included in the Holy Scriptures that would include the church of today.
If I consider myself to be a faithful follower of Christ and God has chosen Paul to speak to the church across untold generations it would behoove me to pay careful attention to what he has written.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not something you just decide to do one night and wake up the next day a bona-fide disciple. I have been a follower of Christ for 49 years. I have served Him well, with some noticeable ups and downs and have managed to make it to 72 still being on the right side of the battle between the enemy of my soul and God who is my Creator.
That being said, in many ways I feel like a brand-new Christian looking for my ultimate purpose. I have taught Sunday School, preached sermons, served sandwiches to street people and cleaned church floors and rest rooms. I have served on church staff, church boards and ushered worshipers to their pews. All those things have to do with the activity of ministry. At this point in my life I want more. I need to answer to the call. God promised me in Jeremiah 29:11 that he has a plan for me, a plan that will give me hope and a future. It may sound unrealistic to think about a future when I am 72 years old, but realistically I could have another 20 years of future ministry. So I have to ask myself, what would that look like? To answer that question I have come to some realizations.
First, from a practical view, I must stay healthy. That may not sound particularly spiritual but 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells me that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So if I am 20-25 lbs overweight (which I am) and feel tired all the time (which I do) I will find it very difficult to be at my best as a representative of Jesus Christ. The answer then is that I must drop the excess weight and get to my healthy fighting weight so that I might effectively carry the full armor of faith. This is going to involve a commitment to eating properly and eliminating some unhealthy eating habits which are sabotaging my health.
This is the beginning but there are some spiritual changes that I must make to find my place in ministry over however many years the Lord may allot to me to be used for his glory. I will be dealing with those in subsequent posts.