“This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
Ephesian is a book filled with encouragement and warfare. It’s a book written to equip the oppressed. It’s a guide to armor up and fight against the schemes of the enemy. And it starts from a man writing his precious friends from a jail cell, praising Jesus! He is not just declaring the goodness of God from prison; he is living it. And he is also uplifting the believers in Ephesus and encouraging them in their faith to live boldly and to stand up against the ways of the enemy.
I want to point out a few remarkable moments for Paul. Paul refers to himself as a slave to Christ in Romans 1. While in Rome, it is believed Paul wrote the books Ephesian, Colossians, and Philemon from prison. He was writing Christians living in areas where the goddess of fertility, Diana (also known as Artemis, the virgin daughter of Zeus), was worshiped. In early times she was known to be given human sacrifices. So, let’s set the stage. Christianity is new. Religious leaders hate all Christ-followers, and cities and governments worship the Greek gods and goddesses with human sacrifice. It’s an atmosphere of opposition and a climate of hostility.
Can anyone relate to this? You committed your way and your life to Jesus. You resolved to follow his plan for your life. You walked away from the old patterns, old habits, old beliefs, other opinions, and worldly views and into the truth. And what is your reward? Spiritual warfare, persecution, or rejection.
Even in Paul’s unfair imprisonment, he was able to see the Hope of Glory. He was able to reach out, inspire and bolster others in their faith. When things weren’t perfect, in unfair circumstances, and during his own personal trials and hardships, Paul extends hope, praise, and reassurance. “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” Ephesians 1:11 NLT
Can we let this be our inspiration and example? That when we are going through it, to reach out to those who are suffering as well. Can we walk through hell and act like we own the place and come out not smelling of smoke but of grace and encouragement? Sisters, this is a season that we are doing life differently, and we are learning to do church differently, and if it takes learning how to minister from a prison, then so be it. Grit Girls, this letter is written from my little barn home in Kitsap from the corner of my couch.