You have probably heard the saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." This is true to an extent, for life is full of the unexpected. Did anyone really plan for COVID-19? Look how this pandemic has forever changed the world. How well can one really plan when life is so uncertain? Yet, we who are sons and daughters of God have access to the one who knows all things. He may only give us a glimpse of what is to come, but we can trust as long as we are in fellowship with Him, He will reveal to us what direction we need for the day that is at hand and what insight we need to prepare for what is ahead.
Here in Ephesians 1, we discover God's plan; knowing these scriptures will help us make sense of what naturally would make no sense. Paul starts by sharing his call as an apostle, according to the will of God. The word apostle is with a lower a, not capital, because it is more about a function than a title. Jesus is the Apostle, and His apostolic anointing flows through different members of His body for His divine purpose and the other giftings to whosoever He chooses. In verse 3, Paul now begins listing the blessings that each believer has in Christ Jesus.
We have every spiritual blessing of heaven as we walk in God's will. This includes being empowered to live holy, blameless, to walk in favor, and with grace. His blood has redeemed us, as our sins are forgiven, and we have wisdom and understanding to now know the mystery of His will so that we can fulfill His plan.
The plan of God is this, as stated in verse ten, "to bring everything together under the authority of Christ." If we can catch this, we can pass the tests we face and not have to continue to repeat them. Why can life be so difficult? Often the case is this; we need to surrender to God, that's it! He is bringing the world to its knees, "every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess, that Jesus is Lord!" Now, Jesus could enforce His lordship, but He wants us to choose to surrender out of love.
It says in verse eleven that "everything will work according to His plan." This gives us the reassurance that no matter what we are going through if we submit it all to God, He will work it in line with His will. How do we know this to be true? We have been sealed as it says in verse 13 with the Holy Spirit which bears witness within us.
I pray as Paul prayed in verses 15-19, "that we would walk in the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, that the perception of our minds would be enlightened, so that we may know the hope of our calling, the glorious riches we have as our inheritance, and the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to His vast strength."
The last verses in this chapter share how God demonstrated the power that Paul just released through prayer. That "the Messiah being raised from the dead now sits at the right hand in the heavens, above all rulers and authority power and dominion, and every title is given. Everything is under His feet, He is over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way."
Let us all be filled right now with His fullness as we submit everything into His hands.
In Ephesians 1, we discovered the PLAN of GOD, which is to see all things become subject to Jesus Christ. Every test and trial in our lives and this world is for this eternal purpose. If we can catch this, then it will be much easier to endure the challenges of life. It will help us trust God in times like we are where what lies ahead is uncertain.
We are not just to know the plan of God but to actively participate in it. As members of His body, citizens of His kingdom, His very own sons and daughters, we are to get to work in our Father's business. When you encounter a new employee in an establishment, you can often tell because they are uncertain of many things. They are in training, and until they grasp the organization and the responsibility they now hold as an employee, uncertainty will remain. It is a process!
In Ephesians 2, Paul addresses the foundation that needs to be laid out for us to start God's building plan. Identity and authority go hand in hand. People were amazed when they heard Jesus speak, for they said, "He speaks with such authority." Jesus knew He was the Son of God! Do we really believe that we are first of all saved, secondly, right with God, and finally instruments of God for His divine purpose? Verses 1-9 acknowledge that we were once spiritually dead carrying out the inclinations of our flesh, but God, rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, then we have the certainty that we are saved. It states that this is by grace, not works. Therefore if we are saved by grace, we are kept by grace. We need to get our eyes off our insufficiency and trust God that He is sufficient.
In Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul helps us understand who we now are in Christ. We are to let go of who we once were but yet not forget where we came from. If we do we will lose the appreciation we have for God's work and can easily be ensnared by the Devil who is always trying to trip us up. The saying goes "if you don't know history you are bound to repeat it." If we forget how Satan bound us in sin we will not be able to recognize his traps when they unfold again. We cannot lose our salvation but our faith walk can be hindered if we are ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Cor. 2:11). In verse 18 it says we have access to the Father. We are not just employees of a Boss that one never sees, where commands are given and we must just follow. No, we work with the boss! The world says "it is not wise for an employer and employee to become too close," yet, in the Kingdom that is all flipped, we are only as effective as we are close to our boss, Daddy, God!
In verse 19 we learn that we are not just citizens of the Kingdom but members of His household. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the very dwelling place of God. We cannot keep our work and home separate. We are homeworkers, God works through us, His home. In this world you are taught to keep things professional at work, intimacy is for one's private affairs. In the Kingdom intimacy and professionalism merge together. Our work is to be intimate with God and display that love to all whom we serve.
As this foundation of identity is set then as verses 21-22 states "the whole building is put together by Him as a holy sanctuary in the Lord built together for God's dwelling in the Spirit."
The charge today is to draw near to God in the midst of our uncertainties and allow the Lord to establish us in the certainty of faith, trusting our future in His hands, believing that all we are going through will work for His good.