221. The Faithful and the Others

As I approached the table at the restaurant one morning, Stan was starring off into space, appearing to be deep in thought.  “What’s on your mind?” I asked him.

“I began making my way through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians again this morning, and I saw something in the very first verse I had not seen before.  And I think it has application to me,” Stan replied.

Continuing, he said, “I am not absolutely certain I am reading that verse correctly in terms of who Paul was addressing, but whether or not I am absolutely correct, I believe there is an  application here I would like to talk about.”

“That sounds kind of complicated,” I responded with a smile.  “Let’s hear what you’ve got.”

“In the opening verse,” Stan replied, “Paul says he is writing ‘to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.’”

“So?” I replied.

“The way I am looking at this, for my personal application,” Stan responded, “is that Paul was writing to the believers in Ephesus.  Period.  He goes on to mention those who were faithful in Christ Jesus, but I think it is likely, since he was writing to believers, that he was also addressing some believers who were not faithful.”

“Two groups of believers,” I responded, “one group faithful and one group not.”

“Right,” Stan replied, “and, unfortunately, that latter group includes me way too often.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Too often,” Stan replied, “even though I am a believer, I am not faithful in the sense of truly being a disciple of Christ by denying self, taking up my cross, and following Him wherever He wants to lead.”

“No,” Stan continued, “I get sidetracked in exalting self, doing what I want to do apart from God, and going where I want to go without following Him.  Thus, I am not faithful.”

“So,” Stan concluded, “I am not certain that is what Paul was saying in the introduction to his letter, but I am certain that is clearly the message I get from the Holy Spirit when I take the time to ask Him and to listen to His response.”

________________________________

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 1:1.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, that you brought me to the truth of the finished work of Christ Jesus on the Cross so that I can count myself a believer.  However, you know and I know how many times I am not faithful to what I believe.  I ask you to forgive me for all of those times I am unfaithful in exalting myself, doing what I want, and going wherever I want, rather than denying self, taking up the cross you have for me, and following you wherever you want to lead.  Lord, I want only to live what I believe.  Please help me.  Thank you I can and do bring all of these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen,

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