TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 1:1-2
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” EPH 1:1
There is an interesting scene from the recent Christian movie titled ‘Overcomer’ where two men strike up a friendship after meeting by chance in hospital. One character is a coach and teacher from a nearby high school while the other is a blind, poor local man spending his final few weeks on earth in a hospital bed. They will soon discover that they are both followers of Christ. During their second meeting, the sick man strikes up a poignant conversation:
“John, if I ask you who you are, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?”
“I’m a basketball coach”, says John.
“And if that’s stripped away?” asks the blind man.
“Well, I am also a history teacher.”
“If we take that away, who are you?”
“Umm, I am a husband and a father.”
“Beyond that, who are you?”
At this point, John is starting to become uncomfortable and slightly agitated, “I am a white male!”
The blind man chuckles and prompts again, “Is there anything else?” “Well”, says John “I am also a Christian.”
“What does that mean?” asks the blind man.
“I suppose it means that I am a follower of Christ.”
The blind man, in his sickbed asks, “Now how important is that?”
John replies that it is very important.
“Interesting,” replies the blind man “how far that is down your list.”
“Now wait a minute,” replies John, “I could have easily said I am a Christian first!”
“Yes, but you didn’t. Look John, your identity will be tied to whatever you give your heart to. To me, it doesn’t sound like the Lord has first-place”.
Although this is but a scene from a Christian movie, the dialogue between these fictitious characters is very sobering! This poor, blind, sick man is helping John realise that he has allowed for things other than Christ Jesus to define him.
Look at what Paul leads with in his greeting, “Paul, an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed), by the will of God [that is, by His purpose and choice]” (Eph 1:1 Amp). His identity is found in Christ Jesus. Paul knows who he is. It is not his education, career, culture, ethnicity, social status, family tree, intellect, wit or wisdom that defines him. Paul is defined by his relationship with Jesus, his Lord and Saviour.
What defines you?
Like Paul, Jesus calls us to find our identity in the one who created us. As you read Ephesians chapter one, allow the weight of what Paul says about Christ-followers to press on you. Find in this first chapter how God sees you and what He says about you.
• Read through chapter one and write out “I am” statements based on everything Paul says about believers. Example, Paul writes: “our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (v3). Write: “I am blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing!”
• Why not pray in this moment that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you who you are called to be in Christ Jesus.
• Having done this, see how many “I am” or “we are” statements you can get from chapter one.