[Pray] for me, that utterance may be given to me,
that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,
for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly,
as I ought to speak. —Ephesians 6:19-20, NKJV
I love the Apostle Paul. He was a fanatical persecutor of Christians — until one day when he was traveling the Damascus Road and Jesus knocked him off his “high horse” and onto his face in the dirt. From that day forward he became a fanatical, radical follower of Christ.
If we claim to be followers of Christ, then we too have had some sort of “Damascus Road experience,” though possibly not as dramatic as Paul’s. Still, it knocked us off the high horse of our own pursuits and purposes and turned us around to pursue God’s purposes. No doubt if you are anything like me, you were fired up to do just that immediately following your conversion experience.
But what about as time wore on? What about when the persecution came, when people criticized or mocked you, when friends and loved ones turned against you, when you experienced financial or health problems? Did you find yourself crying out to God for deliverance, begging Him for relief? If so, and if that deliverance and relief didn’t come as you thought it should, perhaps your passion to pursue His purposes has cooled.
Do you see a contrast here? Most of us, when trials come (and so long as we live in this world, they will!) want God to rescue us from them and restore us to an easy, comfortable life. Paul didn’t pray that way; he never even mentioned a desire to be released from prison.
Instead he asked fellow believers to pray for him that he would “speak boldly” as he continued to preach the Gospel and call people to repentance. He knew that was how he “ought to speak.” In other words, he saw no reason to stop doing what he’d been doing before he was arrested — speaking out for Christ, boldly and powerfully, every chance he got.
Believers in other countries who are regularly persecuted for their faith often pray as Paul did. Instead of asking for deliverance from their trials, they ask others to pray for them that they will remain strong and faithful in the midst of those trials. As a result, their passion for Christ doesn’t wane in the hard times, but rather grows stronger.
May it be the same for us, dear ones!
***My newest releases, Deliver Me From Evil (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award), Special Delivery and The Deliverer are now available at most online venues and in bookstores across the country. Also, watch for my soon-to-release 2012 Christmas book, Unexpected Christmas Hero. You can find/order/pre-order them, along with previously published books, on my website (www.kathimacias.com).
***Kathi Macias, PO Box 772, Homeland, CA 92548