Ephesians 1:16

verse 16: [I]  do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

God, I am so selfish in my prayers.  How is it possible, Lord, that I can aspire to leadership when my prayers center so much on emotional whims?  Paul was the epitome of a leader.  In the middle of beatings, shipwrecks, bouts with snakes, imprisonment, and public scorn (my least favorite), just to name a few, he was praying for his spiritual children….thanking You for the fruit of his ministry. 

This raises two questions– (1) who am I discipling? and (2) have I learned to express thanksgiving for what You’re doing in people’s lives, even when they don’t live up to “my” expectations?

Number two has been such a failing of mine, as You know so well.  More often than not, when I’m in a situation where it feels like something’s unfair, I get vindictive of the people not stressed out like I am.  If I had been Paul, I might have been more inclined to write holier-than-thou epistles that focused on my problems, and resented anyone and everyone not facing the hardships I was facing.

But then, I haven’t really learned the secret of being content in all things yet, have I?  And You, in Your great kindness, haven’t chosen to send me into the boot camp of extreme trauma to learn that.  I can’t change who I am, but You can.  I open my heart to Your conviction…help me see when I’m missing an opportunity to pray for other people because I’m wrapped up in my own circumstances. 

The great exchange–my selfishness for Your grace and Your compassion (love from the womb) for other people.  Please Lord, let me learn this now while life is comparatively easy.

verse 17–>

2 Responses to Ephesians 1:16

  1. Joe says:

    “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

    Chrystal, I find it interesting that you put “public scorn” as your least favorite over choices like shipwrecks and imprisonment 🙂 Isn’t it something how much we still crave the applause of others and fear their disapproval ?

    Your point about expressing thanksgiving over what God is doing in the lives of others is a good one. I remember a while back I was speaking with a friend from church and discussing how prone I am to focusing on my own failings and weaknesses. He said, “You know what Joe…then focus on the grace that God has extended to those around you and rejoice in the work He’s doing in THEIR lives. See how that changes your outlook.” What good advice !

  2. Chrystal says:

    It is truly humbling to look back at decisions I’ve made over the years and realize just how much the rejection and/or praise of man influenced me. You know, I think the Lord has placed an innate hunger in us–we’re all seeking identity, and it’s a God-ordained kind of thing, but it backfires if we don’t let HIM tell us who we are.

    The picture of Jesus in Revelation is so beautiful. He’s the Lamb who has received from His Father an even greater name, that at His name all nations of the earth will bow and confess His lordship. One day, He will write on us His new name if we will persevere.

    Not too long ago, the Lord told me: “Chrystal, I’m the One who knows you; I’m the one who made you. Therefore, I’m the only one who has a right to tell you who you are. Quit going to creation’s labels, and come to your Creator to name you.” How often we speak death over people by speaking contrary to the prophetic, creative destiny the Lord is singing over them. It is almost a little frightening that one day He will call us to account for the careless labels we’ve stuck on His creation in casual conversation.

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