Soren Kierkegaard (believed to be the father of existentialism) being a theologian and a philosopher didn’t just believe that the key was for humans to define their own meaning in life but it was so much more than that:
“The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wants me to do … to find the idea for which I can live and die.”
What does God really want me to do?
Have you found the idea for which you can live and die for?
You are not here to play safe, avoid risks and live in fear of what others think of you. Some people have buried themselves and have not lived their lives that God truly had set out for them. There are treasures that have laid dormant for too long.
A man walked into a fortune teller’s booth and paid money for his palm to be read. “I see many things,” the fortune teller said. “Like what?” the man replied. “You will be poor and unhappy until you are 45yrs,” she said.
“Oh” he said dejectedly. Then he had a thought, “What will happen when I’m 45?” The fortune teller smiled and said “You will get used to it.”
People enter old age and die never changing the way they think or behave, ever. They get locked into being a certain type of person.
If you are reading this devotional then the time to become all that you can become is now. The time to utilise your life, your talents, to give love, to breathe joy, to make someone’s day, to honour God, is now. It is time to rise up and be the man and woman of God that you are.
Let’s read some verses and be reminded that we are in the brackets as it were because Paul was about to launch into a second prayer but he thinks more of the oneness in Christ particularly of the new Temple consisting of both Jew and Gentile.
“I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” Ephesians 3:7-13
We will look at these verses in 2 devotionals. For today see what Paul knows about himself:
- I know what I became
Paul’s Damascus Road experience never left him. It redirected him and his 3 years in Arabia formed him. “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.”
Think with me for a moment. Paul would have further revelations of this but think of Jesus, Son of God in heaven right now. Around the throne are cries day and night, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” Beings are laid prostrate, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Think of that that position. It was from this position of who He is and the power He holds that He said, ‘It is not about me, I will go.” Jesus came, humbling Himself as a servant and Paul will tell us more of this as he continues to write in prison.
People with humility don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less.
Paul became a servant of the good news of the equality in the family of God and so must we. He modelled his service on Jesus and so must we. Can you imagine in the much needed discussions and decisions on race and discrimination that people came to the table as servants to this good news?
A servant has a heart that is not motivated by self-interest, either from their own agenda, status or safety ahead of others.
A servant does not react out of their pride or fear when spoken to. They are not quick to judge, take offence or blame others.
A servant is quick to forgive the shortcomings of others. Forgiveness is not a natural response to being hurt, it is an act of the will. Jesus taught it and demonstrated it on the cross and so should we.
- I know what I was
Paul was deeply conscious of his unworthiness because he had killed so many believers. In fact, he had persecuted Jesus Christ himself, for it is true that when you attack the body of Christ, you attack Christ. “I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people …” Paul knew what he used to be. He once told Timothy that he had been a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man. He knew what he used to be but he also knew he wasn’t that man anymore. Not only did Jesus forgive him but Paul forgave himself and knew that there was now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Maybe someone today needs to not make Christ’s forgiveness meaningless by not forgiving themselves for what they have done in their past. People end up in prison and they don’t realise it. Today we need to release ourselves from the past.
- I know I live for the glory of others
Towards the end of this section before he launches into his prayer, he takes us back to the reality of his prison. “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” His sufferings are for their glory. He is suffering in prison on their behalf. He is prepared to pay the price for the vision of equality to be a reality.
Is there someone in your life that you are prepared to suffer for so that they will be glorified?
Can you say:-
It’s not about me.
I’m not what I was
I will suffer so that her/him/them will be glorified.
If you can then you have found the idea that you can live and die for.