As I was wondering what to write this week and how to link it to Ephesians, Caroline, writing our Christmas letter, was saying that after all the challenges that this year had brought, we were still standing! Which is part of our testimony to God’s goodness in 2020.
Earlier I had a chat with Martin D (not Jnr !), who is a pharmacist. He told me about a lady who, while he was giving her a flu jab, opened up about her fears over some breast cancer treatment she was going to have a few weeks later. Martin suddenly found himself saying, “You need to stand”. Surprised by what he said, she asked him to explain. Martin asked if she was a Christian, to which she replied, “Very much so”. He then spoke about Ephesians 6:13, Put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand – and that she didn’t need to be in fear. Some weeks later the lady returned. She told Martin that she had gone home and read Ephesians 6 and it had made all the difference to her!!!
What a great testimony to the truth of some of the things we have been talking about over the past few weeks. And what a testimony to God’s goodness that the Holy Spirit, within Martin, gave him words to speak that would point the lady to Jesus and lead to her being strengthened and sustained. And what a clear example of how the Holy Spirit’s gifts to us can lead to mission and ministry in the middle of everyday lives.
Ephesians may be full of biblical and theological truth, but also describes the practical reality of living in and by the Spirit, and simply put – it works!
I know that many of us have similar stories to tell. Stories of sudden thoughts to call someone, that result in an answer to prayer. Stories of timely encounters, that result in meeting someone’s need. Or other stories, like Martin’s, of words which come out unexpectedly, and make a real difference to someone’s life. We need to be sharing these stories with one other. Individually, we may not have a story each week, but together, there will be plenty. Wouldn’t it be great to be sharing these as they happen? So, over to us all!
Living out the truth of Ephesians – being doers of the word not just hearers – is part of the normal Christian life that demonstrates God’s goodness and brings hope and life to a world that needs it. During Advent may we all take the opportunities God gives us to encourage all those we meet.