A lot has happened in the last 48 hours. I looked inside of myself and got angry and depressed about being fired. Never mind that I supported the reason I was let go… but I pictured getting younger staff for our school by filling empty positions. Not by giving up my position. I felt so rejected and embarrassed. I became so full of myself that I told Ray, I don’t want to ever have anything to do with any of them again. Surly they despise me and have only been tolerating me up till now or this would not have happened! Ray is a patient man. He looked right at me and said, “It is too early to make a decision like that.” He was right.
This morning I re-opened the book of Ephesians. I meant this to be a study for my students. The Almighty had something else in mind.
There is a tiny, nearly insignificant word in the English text, the word is will. I’ve been doing my pre-study of this book since the middle of July yet somehow I did not pay attention to this common little word. But this morning it jumped out at me, like a gift in a pretty ribbon.
Will: thelma G2307 a determination about a subject or thing… the choice made about the subject. (Zoe) An expression or inclination of pleasure toward that which is liked. That which pleases and makes joy. When it is God’s will it signifies His gracious disposition towards something. Designates what God Himself does of His own good pleasure.
The very first use of thelma in the book of Ephesians is in verse 1.
1:1 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:
I become so used to Paul being an apostle and to the little word will that I nearly missed the significance of Paul’s opening word to the Ephesians. Who but the Almighty would choose a terrorist who murdered, jailed and went out of his way in hate to persecute believers in Y’shua (Jesus)? Paul was the result of the will of YHVH (God). It gave the Almighty pleasure to choose someone whose will was completely against the will of God and make him the missionary, the apostle, of the love of YHVH though Y’shua! Paul thought that his whole life was going one direction. His studies, his work, his associates… but in one unexpected moment, everything changed. My change was not nearly as dramatic as Paul’s, but like Paul, I can trust that what the Almighty wants for the last years of my life are brighter and better then where I thought I would go.
What else does Ephesians tell me about the Almighty’s will?
1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
From my perspective, YHVH’s will is a mystery–purposed in Y’shua. It is always a surprise, but only to me. Everything that happens in my life has a purpose in the will of the Almighty. He alone knows why I am faced with the circumstances of my life. The hardest things always work out to be good. For me, this is why it is important to thank God “in all things and through all things,” though I have known times when my thank-you’s were strictly obedience rather then heart felt.
2:3 Among them (the sons of disobedience 2:2) we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
The heart is where Y’shua rules our lives (a study for a different day). If he has not been invited into my heart, then my life is ruled by my mind and my flesh. Logic and desire. Every believer must choose to seek Y’shua with all their heart, the mind must be in submission to the heart where Y’shua sits as Lord, so must the strength of our flesh. If I simply go with what I think or what I feel, then I am no different then “children of wrath”, unbelievers. It is normal to make decisions with my intellect and experience (mind) and to react to what I feel (flesh). But we who are born again are not normal, we are supernatural and need to submit all our mind and all our strength to the heart, where Y’shua reigns.
5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:17 is still building on submitting our will to Y’shua rather then our feelings or logic. Y’shua is our light in this dark world (John 1:1-4, Eph 5:14) We are to be careful how we walk (from the Hebrew HALAK meaning how we live a righteous life, it has to do with the earlier word studies of saint and holy which both have to do with living inside the curtain of the temple, a consecrated life… where we live while free to come and go to minister and rest). The days are evil, there is no time to live by logic or feelings, but only by the direction of Y’shua from the heart.
6:6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
Finally, no matter what our position is on this earth (this word is for slaves), we who believe in Y’shua are to do YHVH’s will from our heart!
What a life changing word study. I was feeling embarrassed, angry, sad and sick to my… head (those headaches were not from my heart). My mind came up with a plan based on the logic of what I experienced in the past, and what these people, whom I love, must really think of me (not how they are being obedient to the Almighty). I was acting as if I was a “son of disobedience”. But Jesus loves me, this I know! He will never throw me away (Deut 31:6, Matt 28:20, Heb 13:5-6) All he asks is that I look to him, to seek his kingdom, (Matt 6:33). I can always count on Him to direct my path in life (Prov 3:5-6)
I am thankful for the Almighty’s patience toward me. I am amazed that he can take one simple word and change my moment, to make beauty form what seemed like ashes. To anoint me with joy in the midst of my mourning and to cover me with praise (from the earlier word study blessed) instead of that spirit of heaviness. (Isa 61:3)
How do you “press on” when you feel crushed?
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 13:1-2
Debs, August 13, 2017
All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Update NASU