A prayer in chains

Ephesians 6:20 – for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should

As we finish this section in Ephesians 6, Paul does two things in this short verse: (1) He reminds us that he was in chains for proclaiming the Gospel and (2) reiterates that he may declare it fearlessly as was done in the previous verse.

First, Paul is such an amazing example for all of us. He was not scared and was never ashamed of his faith. Even if it meant losing everything, he would keep on preaching it. Paul didn’t care about his comfort. He followed the same path as Christ. They never worried about their comfort. In fact, they lived very uncomfortable lives. The life of Christ is such a reminder that we never need to seek the comforts of this world. We never need to seek things in this world that will only fail us and let us down.

As Paul points out that he is in chains for his faith, he reminds us that this life and the things of this world doesn’t matter in Philippians 3:8 (NIV), “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” The surpassing worth of knowing Christ. WOW, that is powerful! As Paul wrote this from a prison in Rome, he asked in verse 19 and the continuation into this verse that as he was in chains, he wanted to make the most of the opportunities to fearlessly and boldly tell the Gospel to those around him.

He knew that God had him there for a reason. He knew that this was a beautiful opportunity to tell the guards and other prisoners of the hope of Christ. That even though they were physically in chains, they could have spiritual freedom. He felt that freedom and wanted to share that with others. The same freedom that brought him to that cell. I love that no matter what was happening in life to Paul, he was so filled with God’s love and it overflowed in him that he wanted to share it with all. Nothing else mattered. He took God’s charge seriously. And so should we.

I struggle greatly with thoughts of “Why am I here? In this place, what is my purpose?” I struggle with how to make a difference in a corporate environment when I have this inner thing inside of me reminding me I wasn’t made for this. But, this is where God has me for now and I must and want to honor that.

I think about Joseph and all those years that passed between the time he was thrown in the pit and the time he came to be Pharaoh’s right hand man that led to seeing his family again and the eventual protection of God’s children. I think of the time that passed between when God told Abraham he was going to have a child to actually having Isaac.

God has this great and masterful plan that is beyond our comprehension and there is this big story going on up there. This upper story is happening but it is one we can’t see because we get stuck in the lower story. We get lost in the trees and can’t see we are in a forest. The lower story is what is in front of us now and what we can see. The upper story is essentially the 50,000 foot view. It sees a whole range of things happening.

The point is that as God has us in our different places for a reason. He is working in us. It may be to get us back on track because we made a wrong decision. Or out of no fault of our own, to grow and be used for some purpose in the future like Joseph. Just like Paul who was in chains used this time to write inspired letters and help those without hope come to know what hope is. Through Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, he was able to reach a whole new set of people. But it had to come on God’s terms, not his.

Secondly, as we discussed in the last post, Paul mentions once again to declare the Gospel fearlessly. What I love is at the end he throws in “as I should” reminding us that we should all do that. We get so caught up in what people think and what will happen if we even mention the name Jesus, yet Paul tells us so simply it is what we should do. We should tell people of the wonderful hope that God offers. We should show those around the peace of God even in such troubling and hurtful times. Fearlessly cling to God asking Him for help and wisdom to handle the toughest parts of life. Asking God to help us and strengthen us even when life seems so good.

This verse while short is powerful. We may be persecuted. We may get thrown in prison. People will leave us and fail us. We will experience pain. But we have a task. A task to glorify God not because He needs us. Not for our glory or to earn our salvation. But out of being a benefactor of the Great Giver and being so satisfied in Him that we delight to do His will and are so overjoyed with Him that the joy and love that overflows in us reaches out to meet the needs of those around us. God is good. We should adore Him. What a great and amazing joy it is to be called a co-heir with Christ.

I am left with the great old hymn “It is well with my soul”.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,Let this blessed assurance control,That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,It is well, with my soul,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,It is well, with my soul,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,It is well, with my soul,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

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