A Mini Commentary, Pt. 15 (Ephesians 4:15)

Well, we are getting down to the end of this mini commentary. I do hope that it has been not only beneficial, but also a blessing in some way.

I will be posting today and tomorrow, but that will be all in the commentary on Ephesians. Next week I may take a few days to share another commentary I did, that being on Romans chapter 1. Considering I just started a new series through the book of Romans on Sunday nights, that might not be a bad idea 😉

Should you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.


4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

But speaking the truth in love,

            Here is where so many go astray: they speak truth, but not in love. We can only wonder how many good Christians have been wounded, crushed, or shipwrecked by loveless truth, that being judgmental, self-righteous legalism. Correction without love is no better than vengeance or sadism. Advice and instruction without love is more likely to imbed bitterness than wisdom.

            But let us notice the progression of the Apostle Paul’s thought, beginning from verse 11 until now.

He (Jesus) gave [gifts] (v. 11) … for the perfecting of the saints (v. 12) … for the work of the ministry (v. 12) … for the edifying of the Body of Christ (v. 12) … till we (both individually and corporately) attain maturity and stature, Christ being the Standard measurement (v. 13) … that we be no longer children (v. 14) … but may grow up [to be like Christ in all things] (v. 15).

            Notice that it is only after all that precedes in verses eleven through fourteen that we can come to the place where we know what and whom Truth even is, much less be able to speak it in love. We speak the truth in love when we are taught the truth about who we are and what it took for Jesus to spare us from the wrath of God. We speak the truth in love when we know who Love is and have a relationship with Him! We speak the truth in love after having been around the One who loved us when we were unlovable. We speak the truth in love because our hearts have been softened and conformed to the heart of Christ. We speak the truth in love as parents or guardians would warn their little ones of strangers.

Those who don’t speak the truth in love haven’t spent time with the Lover of their souls.

may grow up into him in all things,

            Here the sense is that of gradually growing stronger, gradually growing in size, or gradually increasing in likeness. In another sense it could be said that we are meant to grow into, by gradually adding and reproducing, the frame of the body pre-ordained by the Spirit-imparted blueprint found in the DNA of Christ’s blood!  

which is the head, [even] Christ:

            In both a metaphorical sense and a literal sense, the Church is the body of Christ. But make no mistake, as with us, the body is not the person. The Church is the Body of Christ; His hands and feet in this world. Yet, the body is only the tool of the brain, and that brain is in the head. Take away the head, and the body, mature or not, will die and rot.  In the same way, without our Head, the Church at most is a dead body flopping around as the nerves sense the last electrical impulses of life.

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A Mini Commentary, Pt 14 (Ephesians 4:14)

4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

That we [henceforth]

            Henceforth is not a word we use very often these days, and it was not a word used by the Apostle Paul; it was added by the translators for clarification. But the truth expressed in the above three words is that staying the same in the Christian walk is not an option. And, glory be to God, Jesus is the One who can change even the vilest sinner into a saint! God gives us those who can preach and teach His Word so that we can grow spiritually, mature in the Faith, and effective parts of the Body (v. 16). It doesn’t matter from where we come; Jesus can change us!

be no more children,

            To the child, being childish is natural. To the adult, being childish is the sign of immaturity. There is nothing wrong or unnatural for a baby to want milk, but it is entirely unnatural and a sign of severe growth problems for one who is physically or apparently an adult to shun meat and vegetables. Unfortunately, many believers have never even felt the sensation of chewing!

tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,

            The metaphor is that of a ship on the sea, taken up by one wave and crashed down by another, driven by the shifts of the wind rather than a solid rudder.  Without sound instruction, immature children (babes) in the Faith will be like little sail boats on the sea without any tools with which to navigate. They will bounce from theology to theology, doctrine to doctrine, movement to movement, without every really knowing where they are supposed to go.

            If all one cares to do is float about aimlessly for his entire life, then a rudderless boat will do just that. However, if a watercraft was built for a purpose, owned by One who sends ships across the treacherous seas rather than set them assail to drift, then a rudder, a guide, a means to navigate is critical! There must be rations, supplies, tools to mend torn sails, fuel for the engines (if applicable to this metaphor), and a weighty Anchor when we are told to “be still and know that I am God.”  Thank God for the gifts He has given to equip us! Thank God for the “fulness” of Jesus Christ!

            But this metaphor also applies to those who might be agitated, distraught, confused, torn, and about to sink. Many a soul is troubled from false teaching, bruised from the tossing back and forth, even the tossing through the night as worry and doubt deprive the poor one from sleep. Why would anyone shun the gifts to the Church? Why would anyone choose to be rudderless and without conviction on the tumultuous sea of relativism?

by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

            We have the “gifts” (v. 11) for our “perfecting” (v. 12), till we all come into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God (v. 13). We have them because we do not want to be tossed about and carried away with every knew (or old) wind that comes out of the mouths of deceivers. The waves and the winds are the metaphor, but what are the realities?

  • Sleight of men

            It might be difficult to deduce it from the King James rendering of the original Greek, but the Greek word translated “sleight” is the word κυβεία (kybeia G2940), pronounced koo-bi’-ah. Its meaning has to do with dice (cube) playing, rolling the dice, playing with “loaded dice” to cheat. It means craftiness and/or trickery, and implies anything that is meant to take advantage of another.

  • Cunning craftiness

            Craftiness, cunning, but also a specious wisdom (superficially plausible, but actually wrong; misleadingly attractive in appearance).[1] It cannot be said enough that what may sound good to itching ears may actually be a lie.

  • Lying in wait

            The rendering here is totally adequate to describe the above who both knowingly and without concern preach or teach false doctrine. Like predators; like snakes in the tall grass; like sharks just under the surface; like spiders in their webs; these thieves, abusers, and murderers of hope, peace, joy, and truth wait for those who are weak, unsuspecting, and most of all, unlearned and naïve. Satan, the father of lies, has bred and trained them to take down even the strongest prey, but how much more those who disregard or malign the gifts of God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit to the Church!


[1] Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

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A Mini Commentary, Pt 13 (Ephesians 4:13, cont.)

Both the previous post and this one deal with the same verse. However, the last one was more of an outline of how we got to where we are.

This time we will look specifically at verse thirteen.


4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Words mean things, especially God’s words. Therefore, when He says that He gives a gift “for” a reason, we should take note: God’s gifts to the Church are not arbitrary. Beginning with verse 12 and all the way through verse 16, there are multiple prepositional phrases which detail both the progressive working of the Spirit in the Body and the overall purpose, that being to “grow up into [Christ]” and “increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (vs. 15 & 16).

Till we all come

            There is a reason it is called “the road of life.” Life is more than simply stepping over the threshold; it is a path with ups and downs, twists and turns, and many, many lessons to learn. It is also a journey where we are nourished and instructed along the way. The spiritual life is no different, as the meaning of the word translated “come” (καταντάω; katantaō) so adequately affirms: “to attain or arrive at a particular state.”[1] The believer is always growing (at least he SHOULD be) every day, more and more conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29; 12:2; 13:14).

in the unity of the faith,      

            Unity is a dangerous word, much like the word love. To strive for unity without a deeper understanding of what one is to by unified with is terribly misguided. Yet, many of the religious and spiritual people of the day say we need to come together and set aside our differences for the sake of peace. However, it was Jesus who said that He did not come to give peace on earth (contrary to the majority of Christmas wishes), “but rather division” (Luke 12:51).

Unity of faiths is not the same thing as the unity of “the faith.” Paul wanted the Ephesians to grow together, united together for the same purpose as cells in the human body would be. The “faith” that he is talking about here is not the simple act of placing one’s trust in something or believing for the sake of believing, but faith in Jesus Christ. This unity is nothing that happens overnight, either.

and of the knowledge of the Son of God,

            It is one thing to know about something, but it is a totally different thing to experientially know something. The word Paul used in this case is ἐπίγνωσις (epignōsis G1922),the same word he used in Romans 12:2 where he describes those who had a zeal for God, but “not according to knowledge.” It is also the same word he used in Ephesians 1:17 where he prayed that the Ephesians would have “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge (emphasis added) of him.” God’s Word is not there for us to simply be informed, but to come to know Jesus in a deeper and more personal, experiential way.

unto a perfect man,

            Many people read this and think that to be a Christian one must be “perfect.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. To be perfect is to be complete, perfect, whole, full-grown, mature.[2] Keeping with the metaphor of a human body, the gifts the Church is given (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor, teachers) are necessary until it is all that measures up to the image of Christ.

unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

            We will break this prepositional phrase down into its separate parts, but before we do that, let us pause and meditate on the wonder, the majesty, the glory, and the absolute impossibility for any man or woman to attain such a high and magnificent standard! In the Greek, εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ; in reality, only by the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the working of the gifts of grace through Jesus Christ himself.

            What is the “measure”? It is that of the “stature of the fulness of Christ.” What measure! What stature! What fulness! It is this measure to which the gifts are to be applied in instruction, example, discipline, and correction. It is the measure that is the “perfection of the saints for the work of the ministry.” To be like Christ, and no other!

  • Measure

            Μέτρον (metron): that by which anything is measured.[3]To what or whom do we measure ourselves? The preacher, teacher, actor, singer? Is our measure of morality our parents, spouse, or some ancient philosopher? The measure, the meter, the ruler, the yard stick, the flawless and perfect example is Jesus.

  • Stature

            At first glance, this word may generate mental images of tall statues, like that of a great historical figure in a museum or national monument. However, the meaning of ἡλικία (hēlikia G2244) is broader than that. It can refer to the lifespan of someone (Matthew 6:27); the height of something (Luke 19:3); the social recognition, qualifications, or maturity of someone (Luke 2:52; John 9:21); or the physical abilities of a person comparable to his age (Hebrews 11:11).

  • Fulness

            Once again, the depth of a word in relationship to Jesus Christ is worthy of pondering! The Greek word from which we get “fulness” is the same root word from which we get the word “plethora.” The word πλήρωμα (plērōma G4138) can mean a full measure, a full number (as in a full compliment of ships), the sum total of something, a piece inserted to fill up, or as one Greek lexicon described it, “the satiety of the feast.”[4] Any preacher worth his salt should be able to come up with a fantastic sermon outline using only the definition of “fulness”! How sufficient is Christ! Jesus is truly all we need!


[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 150.

[2] Barclay M. Newman Jr., A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies, 1993), 180.

[3] Henry George Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 1123.

[4] H.G. Liddell, A Lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996), 647.

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A Mini Commentary, Pt. 12 (Ephesians 4:13)

I’ve been slightly busy and distracted, so I apologize for just now getting back to the commentary on Ephesians 4:1-16.


4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

            It is important to note how one thought builds upon another. Therefore, before we unpack Ephesians 4:13, let us take a moment to refresh our understanding of the Apostle Paul’s train of thought with an outline. Although each verse in this study could stand alone on its own truth, all are connected and work together like a healthy body.

Outline of Ephesians 4:1-12

  • “Walk worthy” (4:1-2)
  • With humility and patience (v. 2)
  • “Endeavoring to keep the unity…” (v. 3)
  • There is only one body, Spirit, Lord, faith, baptism, and one God and Father (vs. 4-6)
  • But (v. 7)
    • Every individual believer is given grace
      • According to the measure of the gift of Christ
        • That is why David said:
          • “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (v. 8)
            • Parenthetical if/then statement inserted by Paul (vs. 9-10):
              • If Jesus ascended, then He must have first descended
              • Jesus descended, and it is He who ascended to “fill all things”
    • Grace gifts (vs. 11-12)
      • Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastor/Teachers
        • For the perfecting of the saints
          • For the work of the ministry
            • For the edifying of the Church

How, then, does this verse (v. 13) follow along in the outline? The first word “Till” picks up right after the prepositional phrase “for the edifying of the Church.” Although the three “for” statements (describing the reason for the gifts of the Apostles, prophets, etc.) fall under the subpoint of “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastor/Teachers,” notice that each one is a subpoint of the other. Why? Because each one follows the previous and is dependent upon it. Therefore, verse thirteen must follow “for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The outline might continue like this:

  • For the edifying of the Church
    • Till
      • We all [arrive at; reach; attain] the unity of the faith
      • [We all arrive at; reach; attain] the knowledge of the Son of God
        • Unto a perfect man
        • Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ

Tune in next time for more on Ephesians 4:13.

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Legalism In the Workplace: Checking Off the List

Last week I wrote about how that legalism is not limited to the realm of the religious. In response I received several lively comments detailing what legalism is and is not, but I never got a single example of how it could be exhibited in the workplace.

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Yes, there are plenty of religious people trying to earn their way to heaven with good works. There are plenty who judge others by man-made lists of do’s and don’ts.

However, like I said last week, “…there are plenty of other ways people can become legalistic in their treatment of others and the jobs they perform. And, quite frankly, many people run the risk of great harm because of legalism in the workplace.

So, let’s look at a good example with which I am very familiar – the school bus pre-trip.

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Are You Glad?

Let’s go!

church glad to go

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Legalism Isn’t Just a Religious Term

Are You a Lawyer?

Two weeks ago at our local farmer’s market, a lady was interested in my art. After talking for a moment, she asked if I had a business card I could give her. Of course!

Now, this week I am set to receive my new business cards for Wall Hole Coverings, but all I had at that time showed information about me as a pastor. But even though they are my church cards, they do have under my phone number the web address for this blog.

When the lady read “The Recovering Legalist,” as often is the case, she asked, “Are you a lawyer?” To which I replied, “No, I’m a pastor, but that’s my personal blog.”

Then, with a sort of a belittling tone, she said, “Oh, so it’s religious, then.” To which I replied, “No, not entirely.”

More than Religious

You see, the context of this blog and much of my writing is, most certainly, weighted toward the spiritual. Yet, when I talk about “legalism,” I’m also referring to a dangerous kind of behavior that affects nearly every walk of life.

From a religious perspective, legalism, simply put, is the practice of gauging one’s spirituality by man-made standards, particularly the checking off of a list of do’s-and-don’ts.

On the other hand, there are plenty of other ways people can become legalistic in their treatment of others and the jobs they perform. And, quite frankly, many people run the risk of great harm because of legalism in the workplace.

How is that possible?

I’ll give you some examples tomorrow.

Until then, can you think of some examples of potentially harmful legalism on the job?

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A Mini Commentary, Pt 11 (Ephesians 4:12)

In order to better understand the context of the content of this post, make sure you go back and read the previous post on Ephesians 4:11.

4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Notice how that there are three (3) times the word “for” is used in verse 12. Notice how that each one precedes something that the above gifts from Christ to the church were to accomplish. Christ gave unto the Church, and not all at the same time, “some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors” (v. 11). It was the giving of the gifts and the working out of those gifts that the three objectives would be accomplished, including in the order in which they are mentioned. Let us now examine the following three prepositional phrases.

  1. For the perfecting of the saints
    Before the work of the ministry and the edifying of the body of Christ can reach its potential, the saints (saved believers) must be “perfected.” This does not mean that Christians must be perfect before God can use them. No, when Paul wrote about the perfecting of the saints, he used the Greek word καταρτισμός (katartismos G2677) which means to make someone completely adequate or sufficient for something, or completely equipped for a particular good work.[1]
    The gifts given by Christ – Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets, Pastors, and Teachers – equip us, train us, and encourage us.
  2. For the work of the ministry
    Once the saints (the Christians) are fully equipped for the work of the ministry, it is then necessary that they exercise their own gifts and demonstrate with good works the effectiveness of their equipping. Unfortunately, too many Christians have been taught and equipped, given everything need for good works, and yet have never done one thing outside of self-edification. But that is not the purpose for their equipping! The purpose for their equipping is to edify the Body, not one lone member.
  3. For the edifying of the body of Christ
    Edifying is the act of building something up. As the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers equip us, we are to use what we have been given to encourage, teach, and generally contribute to the overall health of the Church.

[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 679.

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A Mini Commentary, Pt 10 (Ephesians 4:11)

4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

And he gave

            It is important to note that what follows in this verse through the rest of this section are gifts and their purposes. Often, we fail to remember that our pastors, for example, are not hired servants with nothing more special about them than their defined roles; they are gifts from God! God did not have to, nor was he obligated to give the church, and by extension the individual member, such wonderful, encouraging, and strengthening gifts; He did it because of grace.

            It is also important to understand that not all the gifts were given to everyone equally. Now, in many situations the person, such as the pastor, has more than one of these gifts represented in him, but that is not always the case. This implies that at any given time within the Body of Christ there are different needs, different seasons, for which different gifts are deemed needed for the purpose of edifying and equipping.

            Key words to look for in verses 12-14 are for, till, unto, of, and that. With these words Paul explains the reasoning for the gifts/graces (v. 7) and the purposes for which they should be used.

            Christ gives us the following “grace” gifts as He sees fit:

He GAVE:

  • Apostles: root word is: ἀπόστολοςapostolos (Strong’s G652)

The Apostles were a distinct group of men who were not only disciples of Jesus Christ, but had actually been with Him from the beginning of His ministry and had witnessed Jesus in His resurrected body. These men, more often than not, had nearly all the following graces in that they were also prophetic in their writings, evangelistic in their outreach, shepherds of churches they planted, and, especially in the case of Paul, prolific teachers.

Unfortunately, there are many of various Christian denominations (not to mention cults) who claim the role of apostle. The same can be said about the role of prophet. However, both the roles of apostle and prophet are no longer needed, or as in the case of apostles, even possible. Scripture clearly delineated the requirements for apostleship in Acts 1:21-22.

21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. – Acts 1:21-22 KJV

  • Prophets: root word is: προφήτηςprophētēs (Strong’s G4396)
      There was a time when prophets were more common in the Church. And depending on how one is defined, they should be as rare as apostles. But of the role of prophets in the Church today there is much confusion and debate. How ironic considering one of the purposes of the gift of the prophet was to bring unity. It must be understood, however, that the purpose of a biblical prophet, especially in the Old Testament (yet carried over in a few recorded cases in the New Testament, aside from the Apostles) was to not only “forthtell,” but to foretell. Legitimate prophets “are forthtellers (declaring the truth about God) by being foretellers (predicting what God will do).”[1]
  • Evangelists: root word is: εὐαγγελιστήςeuangelistēs (Strong’s G2099)
       Strong’s defines this as a “bringer of good tidings” (G2099). And what else are “good tidings” in Scripture other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Actually, an evangelist could be one who brings good tidings of victory in battle, or the news of a new king, but in this passage εὐαγγελιστής refers to one who encourages congregations of believers with the good news of the redemptive and restorative work of the Cross. He is also one who brings with his message encouragement and challenges for the Christian walk.

   No doubt, there is always a need for evangelists, today. This is not a gift which one could argue has been done away with or lessened. It is even likely that many pastors are also, to one degree or another, graced with the gift of evangelism. It is certainly from the evangelistic heart that flows the fervent desire to see the lost come to Christ.  

  • Pastors and Teachers: root words are: ποιμήν – poimēn (Strong’s G4166) and διδάσκαλος didaskalos (Strong’s G1330)
    • Pastors. It is often argued that because of the way the Apostle Paul linked these two offices together, the office of Pastor and the office of Teacher are one in the same. How can one be an effective senior Pastor if he is not also able to teach? Instructing in the way of truth, expositing Scripture, and expounding upon particular passages is what if not the outworking of the gift to teach the hearer? Yet, there is something distinct that defines a pastor, and not a teach who is not a pastor. A pastor can be a teacher, but a teacher can be a teacher without being a pastor. And if it is not too confusing, there are pastors who are more pastors than they are teachers. What is the difference?
         A pastor is a shepherd. Of the eighteen times ποιμήν (G4166) is translated in English in the King James Version of the Bible (KJV), seventeen of those times it is translated as “shepherd,” two times of which the word is capitalized because it is referencing Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd. Only once is the word translated as “pastor,” and that is in Ephesians 4:11. A pastor is therefore an “undershepherd,” one who tends the Flock for the owner, the Chief Shepherd, Jesus. And what a gift a pastor is to the local church! If he is a good one, he will watch out for thieves, wolves in sheep’s clothing, false teaching, and worldliness. He will feed the flock a steady diet of nourishing spiritual food from the silos of Scripture; lay down his own life, both literally and figuratively, for the sheep in his care; and answer to God for the souls of those entrusted to him (Hebrews 13:17). One can be gifted to teach, yet not bear this grave responsibility.
    • Teachers. It is this author’s contention, as mentioned earlier, that Paul did not intend to inseparably link pastor and teacher together in the same gift Jesus has given to the Church. Even though there are very few pastors who aren’t didaskalos (instructors who teach concerning the things of God, and the duties of man), there are many, many gifted “gifts” to the Church who teach, instruct, and give godly advice regarding everything from Bible questions to marriage counseling.

[1] Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Prophet, Prophetess,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1782.

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Sometimes All You Can Do is Ride the Pieces

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Have you ever thought you were doing well, only to find out you weren’t?

Here’s another question… Have you ever tried to improve yourself, only to find that the improvements you thought you were making were actually counterproductive to your end goals?

Have you ever had the best intentions and done everything right to the best of your ability, only to find yourself making one mistake that dominoes into a pile on the floor?

Believe me, I’ve not just been there, I’m here . . . and I’ve got the t-shirt ordered.

So what now? Question myself even more? Wallow in self-pity or succumb to the darkening clouds of doubt and depression?

What do you do (if, of course, you’ve ever experienced something like this)? How do you deal with it?

How do I deal with it? That’s a great question!

There are times when there’s nothing you can do to fix a problem. We humans – especially men – are all about trying to fix problems. Nevertheless, sometimes the problem is too big to fix, at least by us.

These are the times that I mentioned in a sermon just this past week. These are the times I spoke of (generically speaking) when I outlined the times when Satan will take advantage.

These are the precise times of brokenness, weakness, sadness, futility, and resignation that our Enemy, per his usual mode of operation (the “wiles” of the Devil), attempts to make things even worse by turning our eyes away from Christ and onto the waves about to sink our frail boat.

There are times when it is difficult to say, “Hold on through the night.” No, about the only thing one can do at these times is commit to holding on just beyond the moment we think we can’t hold on any longer. These are the times when we HAVE to depend on God’s strength, His mercy, and His grace.

Friend, you may think all is lost. The truth is that it may be. Yes, that’s what I said. Sometimes all WILL be lost. But that doesn’t mean God is done and everything is over.

There was a time in the life of the Apostle Paul when, as a prisoner, he was aboard a ship that was bound for destruction. Even though everything was done to lighten the ship and keep it afloat through days and days of an unrelenting storm, God told Paul to tell those on the ship that yes, it would eventually sink and be a total loss.

Except – and this is a biggie – no lives would be lost. The only catch was that, at the news the ship was going to crash, no one was to abandon ship. Those that abandoned ship would die. Only those who stayed on the ship till it broke up would survive.

In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.

Acts 27:30-32 NIV

Crazy, isn’t it?

But that’s what happened. They all stayed on the ship until it ran aground and broke into pieces. The pieces are what they were able to use to float to safety.

But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.

Acts 27:41-44 NIV

I get it! I understand exactly what you are going through! Satan will try to get us to jump ship, throw in the towel, give up the mission, abandon the post, or simply walk away into the dark never to be seen again. I mean, what’s the use, right? If the ship is sinking anyway, why ride it into the rocks?

Listen, as one wreck-in-the-making to another, it may be scary, and it won’t be easy, but keep sailing – stay in the ship for a little longer. . . just a little longer than the moment when you think you can’t go on . . .

Because God may have a plan for the pieces of wreck that an intact ship couldn’t accomplish.

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