Yesterday’s sermon was a great reminder of things that I REALLY need to remember right now. I need to be within the protection of Christ to be able to do the things that God calls me to do. I may not be able to see how it could possibly get things done by my abilities and knowledge but if He calls me to do something, He will also provide a way for me to do it.
Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Recently, I have felt God’s call in my life. I have felt moved to do things that I wouldn’t have done before because of my severe introversion. But since I’ve hidden my life in Him (Colossians 3:3 – For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.), He has transformed my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still broken, but I think I’m just more happy about it because I know I’m loved through it.
God sees me as more beautiful than anything I could ever imagine. He adopted me as His daughter because He loves me, not because of ANYTHING I have done. And because of that, He can do great things through me.
Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
Apparently, in the Greek, redemption literally means the price of freedom. The first century Jews would’ve thought back to the Exodus when they thought of redemption because God redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. But what the New Testament is pointing towards is that we still have a need for redemption even if we’re not physically in bondage to slavery. We are in bondage to sin.
We are not everything God created us to be because of our bondage. We are broken and bent and tied down by our own sin, and often times, we don’t even know it. In fact, if we think we have it all together, it’s harder to recognize our own sin and brokenness that has us in bondage.
We all sin, which means to miss the mark, and we all have trespasses, which means to deliberately do something you shouldn’t. But the glorious part about that is according to the riches of his grace. He renews up daily and one day at a time He is liberating up from our sins. In Jesus Christ, I no longer have to be a slave to my sin. I now have the power to walk away from my own evilness because of Him.
Jesus is like a protective big brother who wants to pull you out of the pit you’ve fallen in to, but once He’s gotten you out, He wants to continue to keep you safe by hiding you within Himself.
For a long time I didn’t realize that I was in bondage to my own sin, I just thought that it was other people who needed to fix their problems and then my life would be perfect. I didn’t understand how deeply my own slavery to sin was a part of my life. But I have learned A LOT over the past year and have gained wisdom and insight that I before didn’t have. I’ve learned passing the blame doesn’t make things better, it just makes me bitterer and if I want to live a peaceful life and be able to love other people I need to accept the blame for my own sin. I can’t love others very well if I am busy blaming them for my sin.
Ephesians 1:8-9 – which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
Because we are in Him, we have all the wisdom and insight we’ll ever need. Wisdom is basic life principles and insight is everyday practical knowledge of how things work. At a foundational human level, Jesus has taught of all we need to know in life.
When I first started coming to my church and getting involved, I was terrified. I thought I didn’t belong or that I wouldn’t be accepted. I felt like I didn’t understand anything. It seemed like everyone was so happy, and I didn’t know I wasn’t. I was terrified.
When Paul uses the word mystery in this verse, he is turning the word totally upside down from what people would’ve used it for during the 1st century. Back then, mystery referred to a secret society where you have to be initiated and welcomed in to have the inside knowledge of how it worked. That kind of reminds me of like a sorority. In college, I joined a sorority. It was my sister’s sorority and I was a legacy so they had no choice but to accept me. But generally, the sisters would decide whether or not they liked a person before inviting them in. I really didn’t understand much about it and I was a bit confused in the beginning. I wasn’t really sure if I fit in. Then there was initiation and after that the secrets were revealed to me and I realized I still felt like I didn’t fit in.
I am socially awkward…yup, I’ve admitted it. It’s out in the open now. I think this just might make social engagements even more awkward now that people KNOW I’m awkward. But I’m confessing it anyway because I am loved regardless because of who I am in Jesus Christ and not because of my social awkwardness.
I have, for about as long as I can remember, been terrified of social situations, of large crowds of people, of saying the wrong thing, and/or of doing the wrong. But I think this all boils down to the fact that I’ve ALWAYS been afraid of rejection. For me, rejection has always seemed like the worst type of pain imaginable.
So often, I have felt like I wasn’t a part of the “in crowd” because I didn’t understand or know the dynamics of the group or I wasn’t the same as everyone else (similar to how I felt with the sorority). But the cool thing is that in Heaven, none of that matters. Through Jesus bloodshed on the cross, the mystery is revealed to us and God invites everyone in. God doesn’t pick and choose who he likes, like a sorority does, and He doesn’t tell anyone their too broken to get in. Instead, if we accept Jesus and have faith in Him, we are invited into a new inner circle. There’s no need for social awkwardness here (oh, how I am looking forward to that day).
There’s a security in knowing that I am accepted by God. I am still painfully introverted, however, I’ve also learned to accept that it doesn’t matter what crowds I am or am not a part of because ultimately, I am a part of God’s crowd. I’ve been educated and initiated into His inner circle.
Ephesians 1:10 – as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
My pastor taught us all a cool new word yesterday that I’d never heard before: danuma. It means the resolution of all things. I like it 😉 Jesus is the danuma. He is the resolution. Every story needs to have an ending and if the ending doesn’t make any sense, the story wouldn’t be very good. God doesn’t write bad stories, so His story ends with Jesus bringing everything together in Him.
This concept of everything coming together for good seems to be showing up quite frequently for me lately. Which I am glad about because I truly need the reminder right now. It is extremely comforting for me to know everything will come together in Him and for His glory. But the truth everything is coming together in Christ should leave us in awe at wonder of Him.
Other people should be able to see Him in our lives. Before I was a Christian, I thought all those Christian people had perfect lives that were neat and put together and that they never had any problems. Boy, was I wrong!! Our lives are just as messy and broken as the lives of non-Christians, but the difference is that because of Jesus Christ, we have a hope and joy that they don’t. We always want other people to see us doing good things, but we also need to let them see us fail as well. People need to know that we’re human just like they are and that we fail too.
Bottom line of all this: there is refuge in Christ and it is only being protected in Him that will get us through whatever we’re facing. We are not perfect, in fact we are pretty far from it, but in Him, we are loved and protected and He will never leave us.