"God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him in the midst of loss, not prosperity." --John Piper

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Because of the wonderful things He does...(God, not the Wizard of Oz)

Ephesians 3:14-15

14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,

For this reason...so we have to go back a few verses and see what the reason is...

In the previous verses Paul is writing about the grace given him. And what Paul considers grace is not necessarily what we consider grace. When we think of grace, we likely tend to think of grace in regard to the gift of salvation. But Paul extends that even farther. Everything about our lives is God’s grace being extended to us. Paul’s ministry, his sufferings, all things. Paul had the uncanny frame of mind to look at whatever circumstance he was in, and see how that connected to God revealing Himself to those Paul met in life.

In Lydia, the seller of purple cloth, a woman of means who probably made Paul’s life a bit more tolerable. And the Philippian Jailer, who tortured Paul in chains. That’s the one that blows my mind. Paul and Silas in jail, singing praise to God because they knew that God had a purpose in this. Something good was going to happen. They likely did not know what, and it might include their death, but God had something good in store. Then the chains fall off, the doors open. How cool is that, freedom! But Paul, I believe through the Holy Spirit, knew this was not about their freedom. The jailer was about to kill himself, and Paul saves him from himself by crying out, “We are all here.” Then the grand purpose is revealed, as Paul preached the Gospel and this man and his family are saved.

For this reason...because Paul understood that everything is in God’s hands, and He was a part of everything. So no matter what, God’s grace was flowing in all things. For this reason Paul bowed his knees before the Father. Bowing does not just signify worship, but it signifies submission. Paul was willingly placing himself in the hands of the Father. The one from whom everyone on earth is named.

Now maybe that is not significant to us, taking our name from God. But in those days, names meant something. Remember Jacob, so named because he grasped the heel of Esau at birth, but that name also meant Deceiver? And what a fitting name it was! And it was God who later changed his name to Israel, One Who Wrestles with God. So this is not talking about God giving us the name of Johnson or Smith, or even Jimmy or Steve. It is talking about God who is in control of all.

So, two choices: One, bow down before Him. Not to gain favor or get an easier lot in life, but because He is God and He gives grace in all circumstance. Second choice? Resist Him, complain, whine and beg for more. Don’t bow down before Him, but expect Him to bow to you and give you all that you desire. Belittle Him. Which do you think the Creator God of the Universe demands?

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