“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3:10-12 New International Version
How would you describe freedom? How would you define confidence? And where do they fit in your life? Sometimes I am amazed at the confidence people have in their abilities, that there are many who never seem to doubt their proficiency in anything they set their minds to accomplish!
I have observed those with confidence have a freedom that eludes me, often, as does the confidence. I find myself contemplating, wondering do those with this extraordinary confidence consider how it became a part of them? Is it genetic? Do they develop by the nurturing of parents who recognize the propensity for confidence and freedom in their children? If this so, how do parents discover these? What tips them that their child has something more? Or is it an innate part of every child, needing only nurture to bring it into fullness?
Our oldest daughter began singing nearly as soon as she was born. Okay, I know that’s just a little bit of an exaggeration! However, it was easy to know the gift God had given her. When she was very small, our neighbor would sit in his backyard listening to our little girl singing away! Gil would be there for hours, he said, “…just soaking up the sound.” With our youngest it was her ability to comprehend a situation, consider her options and decide if her original intent was worth what it would cost her! This was, as we soon discovered, just the tip of the iceberg.
Unfortunately, they both received from their father the lack of confidence, and the inability to move comfortably in freedom. There was always something in my mind holding me back, keeping me from finding confidence in any ability, as I was convinced I had none. Believing this, freedom was greatly curtailed. For how can anyone experience freedom of confidence when they have nothing to offer that will grant that freedom? This is how it all appeared to me for a very long time, and sometimes it still gets in my way.
Paul shares his purpose in the calling God gave him as an apostle, revealing he became a servant of the gospel by the gift of God’s Grace. His purpose was to take the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles (which would include us at that time and according to Jewish Law it still includes us!). I really like the way Paul expresses his ministry, “… and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery…” Ephesians 3:9 New International Version. Then Paul adds an even more interesting thought. This mystery includes everyone who has become a member of the Body of Christ, the Church.
Here is this most amazing of mysteries, God would reveal the elements of His wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms! I must admit I have not paid enough attention to the words or to the mystery they reveal! We are part of something beyond our own little world; how we respond to what Jesus accomplished for us is a witness to rulers and authorities in heavenly realms! And yes, it is worth repeating as it just plain boggles my mind! Who are these rulers and authorities that are influenced by our witness concerning God’s manifold wisdom? What we know is they reside in heavenly realms and God uses us to be a revelation of His eternal purpose that was made a reality in Jesus. God’s eternal purpose revealing His love, His grace, His mercy, could not and would not be destroyed by anything, ever!
We are told angels long to understand what happened here. Obviously so do the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. God has chosen to use each and every one of us to be an example of all God’s gracious and loving wisdom accomplishes. It’s not about us being anything but who God created us to be and to become. As we are in the process of Grace we are daily in a transformation that is witnessing to the love and grace of God working in our lives! The witness is not about how good we are, it’s about how amazing God’s Grace is in recreating us. The up’s and down’s, the in’s and out’s, the how’s and why’s, are all about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Just one more mystery completely beyond our understanding yet bringing a sense of eternity into our lives!
How do you see your relationship with God? Are you sure of the ability to approach Him with confidence and freedom? There are so many times when I find myself still struggling with my own feelings of “never good enough” and “never getting it right”, causing me to hesitate rather than come boldly before God’s throne of Grace! Even as I realize my feelings lie to me, the hope of Jesus Christ is planted deep within my psyche. There it is making a difference as God’s Grace Process continues its mystery of regeneration!
What a mystery it is when God takes a life, making it over, and taking what appears unsalvageable to create something beyond our imagination infused with confidence and freedom! This doesn’t mean we will respond every time, in every situation, under every circumstance with the confidence and freedom that is ours in Jesus and through our faith in Jesus. However, the freedom and confidence are always there by the very fact that God’s eternal purpose was accomplished in Jesus Christ for us!
It really isn’t about what our abilities are or are not, it never has been. The witness God is holding up to the heavenly realms has been all about Grace accomplished in and through Jesus Christ! We can find our confidence and our freedom to approach God, as it says in the book of Hebrews, boldly! Though certainly not based on us, it is based on what God has accomplished thorough Jesus Christ which is a witness far beyond the atmosphere of this planet we call home!
My hope as you read the Grace in Process blog is that there will be a growing reality of freedom and confidence to seek out God daily, knowing it is His desire for you to do just that, approach Him boldly and freely because God through Jesus has made it possible for all!
It is a mystery to every living being on this planet, to the universe, and extending to the heavenly realms where our witness is being used to explain all God has made possible through Jesus. All this is even as we ourselves are still learning just how mind-blowing, extraordinarily beyond anything we could hope or imagine is the Grace Process of God’s Gospel as it is revealed in Jesus Christ.
God’s Grace continues to amaze me more and more every day, every nano second of my life! And I for one would not have it any other way!
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 New Living Translation