The High school Ministry at HBBC is gearing up for our retreat next weekend in Idylwild, ca! In reading Ephesians 1, I was hit by an incredible sense of awe and humility as the love of God is unpacked and exposed in an incredibly profound way.
Become Who You Are.
What a concept? Become who you are… this automatically implies that we have not become who we are supposed to be yet. There is something more to be grasped, to be understood. But, of course, we know this. We know that there are things missing in our lives, in the way we live, the things we think and say, the other people we are around every day. There is this feeling we are meant to be more, and we find placeholders for that something all over the place, but the truth of it is this: that we are more than what others think we are. The truth is this: What God says about us is the truest thing anyone can say about us. So… what does god say?
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Eph. 1:3
We are blessed by God. The first thing written after he made man in Gen. 1 was ”God blessed them” (Gen. 1:28) We were blessed back then, and we are continually blessed by God today. If we can understand a small apart of the blessing God has given us, we understand a small part of who we are- because we are the people of God before we are anything else. Why is our state of blessedness so important to understand? because it shows that we are the desired of the Father. If what God says about us is the truest thing anyone says about us, then knowing that God desires us will change the way we see ourselves, and will also change the way we see and treat other people… because God desires them, also.
we are a broken people. this has many different meanings-
We are broken from the fall of man, where we succumbed to the enticement and temptation of sin that lead, eventually, to our broken relationship with God. Jesus came to heal this brokenness.
We are broken in and of ourselves, having to deal with broken bodies, broken spirits, broken minds all around us. we have entire industries built up that rely on the relentless tendency of the human body to break down. Jesus came to heal this brokenness.
We are broken with each other, often feeling in some small way that we must always be proving our worth in comparison to another person. “At least im not like that guy” we think, if not consciously then subconsciously. We hurt each other, and in doing so we hurt ourselves and miss out on the joy that may have come from a whole relationship with those around us. Jesus came to heal this brokenness.
We are broken in many different ways, however brokenness is not a trait to be despised, but admitted to, because Jesus himself said “I have come not for the healthy, but the sick”. Jesus saves us, and we better understand ourselves when we come to the knowledge that we are a people in need of saving.
Chosen and Given
We are chosen people. Despite the dispute of the meaning of these words, we can agree on one thing- God desires an intimate and personal relationship with us. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:5f “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” If you look up adoption in the first century you will find this:
With the Ephesians, the person being adopted was first sought out by the person who is adopting. It was a legal contract in two parts- part one was personal: The adopter wrote out a contract as asked “will you be adopted by me?” , and part two was public: the adopter would publicly declare that this person “will now carry on my name and lineage”. These would be adults being adopted, not children. People would also adopt slaves, not necessarily infants. Adoption was taking an insignificant person, and adding to that person the honors of the inheritance of the adopter. Through adoption, with the tension between the jews or gentiles, God gives the hope and possibility of grace and acceptance to anyone.
Why is He doing this? Heʼs doing it because of Love (agape), because it gives him pleasure. (Eph. 1:4c-6)
In God choosing us, he also gives us as gifts to one-another. PAul writes in Eph. 4, speaking of gifts to the church, “it was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers…” we are given as gifts to those around us. Godʼs plan of redemption does not end with the ascension, but invites ALL believers to become his hands and feet and to share the love, grace and acceptance of Jesus with everyone they encounter. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”
it all comes down to this. There is no gospel story, there is no hope, there is no making heads or tails of who God says we are without understanding that We are loved by him. This shakes the foundations of our reality, this disintegrates our understanding of those around us, this takes the worst day in the world and makes it into a masterpiece when we are faced with the relentless and furious love of the Father for us. It does not rest, it doesnʼt not sway, it never goes away, it always trusts, always perseveres, and NEVER fails. The love of God is what makes it all possible, and at the same time seemingly impossible. For someone to kill a part of themselves simply to stop a lesser being from receiving the fruits of their decisions, their just and right punishment for their crimes, is not only illogical, its borderline crazy. Gods love for us is that crazy. And if what HE says about us is the trues thing that can be said about us, then we are people who have immense worth because of the love of the father, and He desires our love in return.