InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Read | Ephesians 3:14-21
1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles– 2if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. 4By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 7of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. 8To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. 13Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. 14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
One noteworthy trait of the apostle Paul was his determination to advance through adversity. There are many people who get stuck in life’s hard spots. They are either too scared or too bitter to move through the hardship.
Instead, these folks wait for the Lord to remove the trial, but He doesn’t always work that way.
How a person responds to hardship reveals his or her true character. Hard times are when God’s people most need to match actions to words. It’s easy to say, “I trust God” or “My Lord is faithful,” particularly when life is good. But unless we recognize that He is sovereign even in adversity, the same lips will complain and seek pity. Believers who trust in the Lord’s faithfulness and supremacy will steadfastly focus on Him and thereby keep their anxiety and doubt subdued.
In order to conquer adversity, we must begin moving through it. It is essential for a suffering believer to surrender to God’s will. We may not know what His purpose is. We certainly won’t like the pain, and we’ll definitely want the situation to change—fast. But giving the Lord free rein allows Him to mature our faith, conform us to the likeness of His Son, and fulfill His unique plan for our lives.
Surrendering does not seem like a way to advance anywhere. But in reality, we’re just handing over the controls to God and saying, “You guide me where You want me to go.” Doing so requires a lot of trust. We serve a Lord who is worthy of our faith and confidence.