What are you suffering for?
For this reason, I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—Ephesians 3:1
In the beginning of Ephesians chapter 3, Paul talks about the grace he has been given from God to take the good news of salvation in Jesus to the nations of the world. Other nations than Israel. He also points out that He is in prison because of his mission to the gentile nations. The interesting thing is that his imprisonment wasn’t because the other nations were objecting to Paul’s message, it was because the Jewish leaders were. They were trying to influence the Roman government to shut Paul down. In reality, being in prison was actually protecting him because a group of Jews had made an oath to kill him. (see Acts 23) So being under guard was keeping him safe from those who would harm him. Not to mention sitting him down long enough to write the New Testament letters there.
All of the Apostles suffered the persecution of the Hebrew leaders almost immediately after Jesus was resurrected. Thank goodness it didn’t slow them down or deter them. If they had pulled back from the message of salvation, we may not live in the nation we do today or have the freedoms to worship our God and Father.
Take a look at this passage in the book of Acts 4:29 & 30 that says Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” This is amazing. After the apostles Peter and John had been beaten for a lame man’s healing and forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus anymore, they went and prayed to become even bolder than they had already been. They didn’t go into hiding and pray for God to protect them and keep them from being found. They prayed that God’s signs and wonders would be done as they proclaimed His name and His Word. The point is, they were not afraid to suffer.
Thankfully, because of their suffering, we don’t have to do much of it today, but are we willing to if necessary? How many of us Christians are praying for boldness to speak God’s Word each day. How many of us are looking for opportunities to see God’s wonders done through the name of Jesus? Sure, it may not be comfortable at first, but once you see the results that come when you are backed by God’s Spirit, you won’t mind being a little uncomfortable once in a while. Instead of joining in with others who complain about the latest inconvenience, begin to turn your focus and attention to places where the you can speak the Word of God in love. Tell about His great salvation, the greatest gift ever and all because God loves us all so much. Pray for the lost and hurting around you with boldness and confidence that God’s signs and wonders will be done as we proclaim His name and His great love!
Today I want to encourage you to pray the prayer that the first Christians prayed as they began to spread the good news of salvation. I challenge you and me to get uncomfortable for the love of God. To stand up and be different than those who are lost. Let the world see what a life of victory looks like and let them know there is a loving Father who wants to give them victory in their lives too.
Today’s scripture reading: Ephesians 3:1-7