Some passages of Scripture are ordinary, administrative and practical ‚Äď but they are still God‚Äôs word and they will do us good if we really receive what they have to give to us. The theme of this passage is mission ‚Äď God‚Äôs mission. When we meet Jesus and become a Christian, we join in on God’s mission. Every day of Paul‚Äôs was spent on mission and ensuring that the churches were sharing in the global mission, playing their part. We too want Jesus to be famous everywhere and for all nations to be excited about Him. God wants to bless our church so that we can bless the city around us and other nations.
Often our life takes a sudden turn when we meet God ‚Äď although this doesn’t necessarily mean we will move; we may just be caught up in God‚Äôs mission in the place we‚Äôre already in. Is your life just about you or is it about Jesus‚Äô mission for your life? His mission will change every aspect of your life. Yield your life to His mission without qualification.
Paul demonstrates the wisdom that godly leaders use to make decisions: although there is uncertainty about what to do, he just makes a decision and goes will it, and leaves the details to God. Maturity in godliness means more freedom to make choices and decisions through what we feel is wise and the best. We mature through childlike obedience to God and then He is able to trust us to make up our own minds ‚Äď but only when our hearts are surrendered to God. God also wants us to seek wise counsel and use our brains, and we know that He can interrupt our course at any time and change our direction. Be attentive to where He wants you to go.
Often we get so anxious and caught up trying to discern the great specific “will of God” for our life, that we become paralysed and won’t do anything until we hear direct instruction from God ‚Äď but God’s call on our life is already quite clear in the Bible: love God, love people and spread the gospel, to begin with. God gives you a compass rather than a detailed map. As you follow this call that has already been made clear in His word, God will give you more specifics. So do something! Start obeying and going where you believe you need to go ‚Äď God can steer a moving ship but he can‚Äôt steer one that‚Äôs on the land.
Verse 2 ‚Äď Paul talks about there being ‚Äėa wide door‚Äô, a massive kingdom opportunity where God was clearly moving, and so he decides to stay. And then he says ‚Äėand there are many adversaries‚Äô – not ‚Äėbut‚Äô but ‚Äėand‚Äô. Paul knew pain, hardship, difficulty, disappointment and persecution is all part of the mission and the growth of the church ‚Äď and it is part of our life and our ministry; it‚Äôs how we grow up. Just because things turn difficult, doesn’t mean that God is no longer in it or with us ‚Äď sometimes it is a sign that God is in it. We are guaranteed trouble in this life because we have an enemy who hates God ans hates us. Be prepared for challenges.
Finally, verse 23 ‚Äď Paul finishes the letter with grace and love. We need the grace of God to do all these things ‚Äď to strengthen us for the fight and to live on His mission, finishing well at the end.