In HOPE

 

 

 

  In HOPE 9.12

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David Timms  

 

 

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 Our Next Season

When the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers -- just seven pages in my Bible -- he realigned their thinking in powerful ways.

For the next few months I plan to devote "In HOPE" to spiritual reflections on the messages of that powerful epistle.

Scripture 

"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, NASB)

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“... to the saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus." 
~ Ephesians 1:1

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Strange Faithfulness

We admire faithfulness and marvel when a couple remain married to each other for a lifetime. Few of us expect it.

Even Jon and Kate ("John & Kate Plus 8 "), under the watchful eye of over 10 million television viewers, have just filed for divorce after a decade of marriage -- despite their vows and eight children who desperately need them together.

We're heart-broken but not horrified by part-time or short-lived faithfulness. And spiritual faithfulness seems no more steady.

On the one hand, some abandon the faith altogether. On the other hand, many redirect their faithfulness. They model tremendous faithfulness to Scripture, to the Church, to leadership, to programs, and to other believers ... but little faithfulness to Christ.

They'll cry foul and claim that their devotion to these other things proves their devotion to Christ. But it rings hollow. It sounds strangely like the husband who exclaims "I've been working these long hours for you !" or "You know these people need me!"

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. 

Faithfulness to the person is supplanted by busyness or personal preferences.

The Bride too often looks past the Bridegroom. It's a strange faithfulness. Yet, when the apostle Paul opens his letter to the Ephesians he honors them, above all, for their "faithfulness in Christ Jesus." It's not steadfastness in doctrine that he first commends, nor diligence in outreach, nor devotion to the church. It is faithfulness ... because of a person and to a person; Jesus.

As one pastor asks, are we "in Christ" or just "near Christ"? Are we attached to Christ or merely attracted to Christ? Do we speak to Him or about Him? Do we practice the Presence of Jesus or simply extol the ideals of Jesus?

We must not define the essence of Christianity by rites and rituals, or doctrines and dogmas, but by a key relationship. Jesus, the Risen Lord, is not just an ancient icon but our current Companion. Our faithfulness to Him and walk with Him transcends everything .

"To the saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus ...."

What wonderful words to live up to!

In HOPE –

David

 

 

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I'm always happy to explore these issues further.

You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2009) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/ .

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.