Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
The “whom” Paul mentions here was Tychicus, who was a fellow minister, who was sent to the people of Ephesus to bring news of Paul. This was long before the days of phone calls and emails, so Paul had to have a way to communicate with these people. Messengers such as Tychicus were often used to communicate messages between Churches in that time. Paul has been imprisoned in Rome and surely the churches where he has preached wondered about his welfare. Tychicus, would have brought a measure of comfort to these people who had formed relationship with Paul. To know that he was surviving, almost thriving, through his trials would have brought them great comfort, as would the letters that Tychicus would have brought them from Paul. Even today, letters from missionaries to their home churches are encouraging. Such letters give those who are unable to go into the field a chance to encourage and pray for those who are giving their lives in the mission fields.
Yesterday, we thought about doing God’s will. Today, we think about building up ourselves in faith. What are the ways that we can build ourselves up in? For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Faith? I had to give some thought about how I try to do this.
The first thing that came to mind is prayer. My grandmother told me that God waited at the end of each day for me to talk to him and tell him about my day. This habit is one that has lasted for over 70 years. I didn’t even realize that this was prayer until when I was older! Such experience gives me time to reflect on my day, give thanks for the good things, thanks for getting me through the difficult ones and asking for help both for myself and my friends and family. I usually end with a formal prayer and then remember the other things and people I need to pray for. I find comfort and inspiration in my church community. After all, the word “church” originally meant the gathering of the people, not a building.
Reflecting on Scripture brings me closer to the Father as well as to Jesus. How can we follow Jesus if we don’t know what he did and said? Studying the Bible with others gives me insights that I might never have seen. So, I guess that prayer, reflecting on Scripture, both alone and with others, and immersing myself in the Christian community are the ways that I try to build up myself in this holy faith with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What are your ways?
We can never afford to be know-it-alls because we will never know everything. The moment we think we know best, we start to distance ourselves from God’s counsel – and that is when errors are bound to happen. Don’t try and take God’s place in your life. Trust in Him and resist all pride – which is a form of evil.
Dear God, I pray that I never get to a point in my life where I think that I know it all. I can never know more than you and I know that you know what is best for my life more than I do. Lord, may I always pay attention to your counsel and no one else’s. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
There is no better image of love and protection than the image of a baby bird safe under the wing of his mother. Under her wings, he is safe from every harm, from foul weather, from cold. Under her wings, he is warm and dry and comforted. This is the image we see in this verse. It is focused on the sense of security found in God. When we dwell in the secret place of God–that is, the very essence of God, the place where we meet intimately with Him–we find ourselves in the shadow of the Almighty, often read as the shadow of His wings. We are in a place of safety and security. When we are in the secret place of God, we are protected. No harm will come to us and we are comforted by His presence.
Father, I want to dwell with You in the Secret Place. Put me under the shadow of Your wings and keep me safe. Comfort me with Your presence. Amen.
Father, thank You for sending messengers to us to lift us up and encourage us when we worry. Thank You for taking care of Your people, no matter their location or their circumstances. In Jesus name Amen