I was reading Ephesians recently, and was struck by two amazing things. First -- I know it's basic; I know... but you probably need to hear it today -- Jesus loves you. In fact, he loves you so much that you can't even get it without a revelation from the Spirit of God. If the thought of His love for you -- right now, in this moment -- is humdrum or old news or not captivating, I promise you need the very revelation Paul prayed for the Ephesians. I'm praying it for you.
Father, I pray for my friends in the boiler room, "that they, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (See Ephesians 2:17-19). I believe in His ability to answer this prayer. Please take a moment and pray it over yourself, and open your heart to this revelation.
The second thing that struck me is that the church is a big deal.
"God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places" (Eph 3:10).
In the Message version, chapter one concludes like this:
"At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence."
This may be a funny way of wording those last verses in some ways, but I think it hits on a very biblical and significant challenge nonetheless. What is peripheral in our lives? And what is central? In the life we are called to lead, I am convinced by the scriptures that the mission of Jesus is meant to be more central than the personal concerns of my life -- my food and shelter and my plans and ambitions and my leisure and comfort. What I want to become or how I want to live or even planning for the security of my elder years. And, central to Jesus' mission for us, is the church. It is through the church that Jesus fills the earth with his presence. It is through the church that Jesus declares to the world who he is. It is through the church that the world sees his wisdom.
That's impressive and lofty stuff -- but it gets really odd when we begin to realize that it is lived out in local and concrete ways. It's not just a vague and abstract concept. He's... he's talking about the boiler room.(!) The grand and cosmic vision of the church is nothing if not lived out in families and fellowships banding together across the globe.
Man, I know life is busy and crazy, and the pressures are intense. I know that people weigh us down with their expectations, that emotions immobilize us, that the to do list is relentless. But still, I need the church, and so do you. But still, the church needs my engagement, and it needs yours. Don't believe the lie that you are not essential!
"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Eph 4:16.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.