A Note from Our Pastor:
“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.”Ephesians 3:13
Good Morning Dearly Beloved,
When it comes to the subject of afflictions the Apostle had experienced more than most of us could bear. During his time preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ he endured being whipped, being stoned, and being imprisoned. The level of suffering he endured is more than we would wish on the worst of men and yet he endured it for the sake of truth. His body and no doubt at times his soul endured great torment for the preaching of Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Those at Ephesus to whom he is writing understand the cause of the tribulations that Paul suffered. They understood that the agony he had to endure was due to the truth he was preaching to them and others. As a result, they implored Paul that he might stop the preaching, stop the letter writing, stop his ministry if it meant that the persecution might cease.
This was a noble effort on the part of the believers at Ephesus and a beautiful expression of the love they held for the Apostle. The truth was important and they wanted to know more about Christ, but they loved this man who brought them the truth and did not want to see the abuse he was suffering continue. However, for Paul that is not an option. To just stop preaching Jesus because at times he was faced with incredible tribulation would have felt like hypocrisy for the Apostle.
In contrast, the Apostle tells them that he desires that they would not faint at his tribulations. That it would not weaken their resolve to serve the Lord. That in the end, those sufferings would be their glory if they trusted in the Lord’s preservation and continued to serve him.
The Apostle was not telling them that it is necessary to endure persecution in order to serve Christ. God did not put a scheme in place where the only way his disciples can be faithful is to be tortured. As disciples we should not be living life looking for ways to think we are at war and that others are out to get us. Rather, we should be living in a ways that demonstrates that we see the blessings of God in our lives and that we are thankful for his providence.
What the Apostle is saying though, is that tribulation is likely to come when you stand for the truth. Your motives will be questioned, your integrity put on trial, and your devotion will be tested. The way of discipleship is not to walk around with a chip on your shoulder looking for a battle, but rather, when the tribulation comes to you the way is to stand fast in the truth of Jesus Christ.
Let us remember, that even those we hold the most dear, may be against us in tribulation. The battle is not for the approval of men, but for the honoring and pleasing of God.
Our Prayers are with you daily,