December 21 I Saturday
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus...” —Ephesians 1:1
There is an expression that says, “They are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly use.” What it means is that there are people so wrapped up in the spiritual world that they have lost touch with the realities of life, and will not be of any earthly use. The greater danger, however, is that we can become so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly use. The demands of this life can become so preoccupying that we begin to think and act by the criterion of a secular world.
As Christians, we are in this world by divine appointment with resources that are not material or physical, but derive solely from Christ. In Paul’s salutation to the Ephesians, he writes, “…to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.” He is saying to them, “You live in two places with two identities in two different spheres. The physical, tangible world of Ephesus, and at the same time, you live in Christ.” This is both their identity and where they live. Ephesus, a predominately pagan city, was entrenched in idol worship. The question is, how do we live with our feet planted in our own “Ephesus” while, at the same time, living in union with Christ and fulfilling the agenda of heaven on earth?
We first need to understand what is meant by, “saint.” Many think it refers to extremely good, pious people who lived back in history, but it is actually the opposite. A saint is a person who recognizes he or she has no virtue of their own, but have come humbly to Christ and been reconciled to God. It has nothing to do with our own merit, but with recognizing our sin, and the power of the cleansing blood of Christ. A biblical understanding of “saint” is a person indwelt by the life of Christ and set apart for His purposes in this world.
Jesus prayed for His disciples, saying, “...for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one” (John 17:14-15). We are not living where we are by accident. A Christian is “sent” in order to be set apart for God in whatever environment He has placed them. God’s purpose is not our withdrawal from society, but our participation in it, and in such a way that we are on the agenda of heaven. We are not called just to be saints, but the operative word is “‘faithful” saints in Christ, which is to be under His authority, accomplishing His agenda on earth.
Prayer: Dear Lord, in this overwhelmingly secular world, I ask that You keep me firmly rooted in You. Help me live every day seeking heaven’s agenda for my life. Thank You, Lord.