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Who you are meant to be

Come with me for a moment down memory lane. Do you remember the wonder and delight of opening a Christmas or birthday gift as a child? You tear open the paper and discover the treasured something your heart has desired. And then you put it on a shelf that night and leave it there. What in the world? ‘Harrumph,’ thinks your mom, a single mother, who sacrificed to get you that gift - then she wrapped it carefully and you set it back. Hmmm… Paul has just explained the great gifts of God—his love and forgiveness of our sins, chief among them. We remember that he was writing to people he loved. . . well, he was speaking to you too! Lean in. You, my friend, have been chosen by God, to be adopted by him through Jesus!1 Jesus himself is our peace,2 Paul explains. [Just breathing out those words brings calm—Jesus himself is our peace.] When I write out these verses in Ephesians and notice all that I have been given--should I choose to open the beautiful gift and then experience it--I am overwhelmed. For instance, I do not have to work for forgiveness, it is given through God’s grace. I do not have to purchase the hope of Heaven or eternal life—it is mine in Jesus Christ, I just have to believe.3 And then, Friend, I bear in mind that ours is not a blind faith, but one based on truth. When I walk along the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus walked and view from a boat with my own eyes the mountains around that lake that he would regularly have viewed and walked upon, I do so in the knowledge that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was a real person, born of a woman like you and me, grew up in a small town, then lived a short life of ministry where he loved and taught and healed, then died an undeserved torturous death on the cross (for me!), yet then walked out of that tomb as he said he would. . . mine is a faith based on truth, backed up by historians of that day, archaeology, changed lives of all who witnessed these things and so much more. It is true—ours is a reasonable faith. With this gift I have received, how am I to respond? ‘Walk this way,’ Paul instructs in the last three chapters of this letter, beginning with these first two verses of Ephesians chapter four: As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. S.O.A.P.: Grab a pen and paper and write out this scripture please. Taking a few minutes to do this is so instructive and valuable, I assure you. It is worth your effort. (see below) What do you observe as you reread Paul’s words? [opening the birthday gift, so to speak] How might you apply them yourself? [actually employing or enjoying that gift] Check it out: I notice that, though Paul was a prisoner, he had to say some things to his Christian friends, and he was passionate about it as he used the word “urge”. ‘Live a life worthy of the calling you have received?’ Yes. He had already told us that God crafted us with a particular, unique purpose before we were even born! So, are you living out your purpose? And then Paul begins to unpack what that calling we have will look like, starting with our character--humility, gentleness, patience. So I pray that God will enable me to be humble—to think rightly of myself; 'O Father, help me to be gentle with my words, with my appraisal of other people, and help me to be like Jesus—with a patient attitude and acceptance of others.' And this is how you and I are meant to live. Living for God, loving him and others, is what gives our lives meaning and purpose—the very thing our culture is crying out for! We go into each day with an awareness and gratitude of the life we have in God—mindful that this daily life is temporary—but life with him is forever! A life of meaning comes when we walk and live each day in faith and gratitude for the gifts of the Creator and the Redeemer, letting him transform us into who we are meant to be. BELIEVE FOR IT, Christine

1 – Ephesians 1.5 2 – Ephesians 2.14 3 – Ephesians 2.8

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