|FDR said these words, but I don't want just any knot.|
Paul, the apostle, and I have become friends in recent years. For a long time I didn’t get along with him; he rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t tolerate his candor or his authority very well. So, I avoided him. I called him names. I judged his motives and intentions. I believed Paul and his ideas and opinions were slanted and bent. But I began to listen to what the Spirit was saying through him. Finally, I put aside my own preconceived notions (that were based on faulty reasoning) and began to really hear what Paul had to say to God’s people—Paul and I fellowship together quite often now. There are times I still can’t quite grasp what he is saying to me, but the Spirit is using the truth that He taught Paul to teach me.
I often wonder how Paul felt when he was being lowered down the wall in the basket. Did he hang onto the rope as his ark decended? Did his friends have rope burns on their hands as a result of their care for Paul? Lately I have seen life as a rope that we cling to and climb—and if we intend to hang on then we must have a knot at the end. I found my knot in Paul's letter to the Ephesians. We must wrap our arms and legs, actually our whole bodies, around this knot that Jesus tied for us.
This knot consists of three things:
Paul longs for God’s people (us) to understand that we have hope, an assurance, of what is coming. This hope guarantees us that there is more. It is more than wishful thinking. It is not hollow or arbitrary. This hope is firmly knotted in what Jesus did for us, and the Holy Spirit is a seal and deposit of this hope. It will be fulfilled.
Paul yearns for us to understand that as adopted children of God we have an inheritance available to us. But he wants to KNOW that this inheritance begins NOW. Unlike earthly inheritances, we receive God’s inheritance when we die. When we die daily to our selfish, sinful natures we begin to receive a portion of the riches of the inheritance right now. And when we pass from here, our complete inheritance will be waiting for us—and we can’t even imagine the scope of this glorious inheritance. Often we are like the prodigal son and fail to realize it begins in the present; we do not have to demand it be given to us, it’s already available. Often we live like orphans—never understanding what is available to us as children of God.
Paul prays that we will embrace and comprehend the power that is available to us. It is a power that cannot be compared to any other. It is NOT the greed of this age and culture. It is a mighty and holy energy given to us to live out the calling God has purposed in each of us. Many of us have failed to employ that power and we attempt to live in and on our own power. Our power cannot exert enough energy to enable us to truly live. But my friend Paul tells us that the power that pulled Jesus out of death and into eternal life is the very same power available to us.
Truly Paul embraced the hope to which he had been called. He knew the reality of that hope and banked on it. I believe this hope was what enabled him to walk through and out of the beatings, the scourgings, the slander, the trials, the mobs, the prisons, the misunderstandings and the shipwrecks. His hope was not a wispy, delicate strand. No, it was a cord of three strands braided and knotted, wetted and dried in the blood of Jesus.
Truly Paul understood his inheritance. He knew the enormity and assurance of it. He had been taught about the inheritance of the Jewish people all his life, but in many ways that inheritance was always in the future. Through Jesus Paul came to understand that this inheritance had great benefits for him NOW. There were resources available now to enable him to live a life worthy of his calling.
Truly Paul comprehended the power of God—the resurrection power that can quicken those long dead. Paul learned to live in and utilize that power. He came back from death over and over. Spiritually and physically. This God-power fueled his daily life. It was this power that told Paul that though he considered himself a wretched man there was something available to help him live beyond. It was this power that enabled him to endure the thorn in his flesh and die daily to the desires of his flesh.
Truly Paul wants us to understand this knot. He wrote these truths that we might live.
He didn’t want us to have to be knocked flat and cold on a Damascus Road in order to know that these are available to us.
Friends, let God tie your knot, and then grab it and hang on tight!
It will not come undone.
You can be assured.