Bro. Caleb Taft
Waking with The Word | Ephesians 3:8
Ephesians 3:8 :8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;by the effectual working of his power. Our verse today is much like verse one, in the sense that it gives us a glimpse into to the mind of Paul and especially his self evaluation. In verse one he views his trial in the light of Christ and it causes the trial to become small in the shadow of Christs' greatness and in verse eight he views himself in the shadow of Christs' greatness and it causes him self to become small. We could learn a great lesson from this mindset of Paul and it is the mindset that we should strive to live by, to set Christ as the standard to which we compare all things to. When Christ is the standard in our suffering we can be comforted knowing that he took the blunt of our suffering and what little we may suffer is light compared to the load of suffering He took for us. When Christ is the standard in our self evaluation we can have a more accurate and honest opinion of our self. Sure I may look like a great guy if I compare my self to a murderer but murderers are not the standard for righteousness, Christ is and when I measure my life by Christ I realize that I am a sinner and He is the savior. I become small and He becomes big, I decrease and He increases. A high evaluation of ones self and skills and talents is a clear marker of a immature Christian, one who hasn't yet learned to whom they should compare them self to. The best Christians I have met have been the ones who knew how little they were and how Big Christ is. This was the attitude of Paul and in Paul's writings through the years there is a digression of Paul's self evaluation that results in a progression of Paul's evaluation of God's grace in His life. Simply put, the less he thought of his self the more he recognized the work of God's grace in his life. Notice through the years how Paul view of self decreased.
Paul in 55AD
1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. :10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Paul in 61AD
Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Paul’s self evaluation in 63-65AD
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Paul went from the least of the Apostles, to the least of the saints to the chief of sinners, and remember his words in Romans chapter 7 "O wretched man that I am." I want to point out that his view of self was much less than how others viewed him. If you ask me, I'd say He was the greatest of the Apostles and saints and if he was chief of sinners then I would hate to know what that makes me. The point I'm making is that Paul didn't let what others thought of him effect what he knew about himself. He was possibly the most laborious Apostle of all and yet He says he is the least. His mindset in this area of life is what we should see in the progress and maturing process of a Christian. We should first put Christ in the cornerstone position of our life( The cornerstone is what the whole building is measured by and serves as a standard for the whole building.) and once we have done that we will become smaller and smaller and God's Grace will become larger an larger. Paul realized that it wasn't because of the sacrifices he made, or his faithfulness or any other wonderful attribute we can recognize in Paul that anything was being done. It was by the grace of God that he could do what he did and it was by the grace of God that he could preach and plant churches. It was by that same grace he could endure suffering in bonds, in shipwrecks. in beatings and public embarrassment. I've been guilty myself at looking at the life of Paul and saying "What a man" but the proper response and view should be "What a God." Paul didn't add these things to his account but to the grace of God he attributed everything. This is the mindset of a mature Christian, to set Christ in the forefront will give you a accurate view of self and a accurate view of his grace. When I see how small I am and look at what God has done in my life I have to say I know it was not on account of my self but it was the grace of God in my life that anything has happened . Boasters and braggards are far from the mindset of a mature Christian. Make sure your evaluation of self is going down and your evaluation of God's grace is going up.
According to the Riches of His Grace!!