Feeling Tossed About

Hurricane clean-up in Texas.


Scripture:

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.
(Eph. 4:14 NRSV)

Observation:

Most of the time when we read this text we assume that Paul is speaking to the believers in and around Ephesus and exhorting them to hold firm. Interestingly, Jerome, in the early centuries of Christianity suggests that Paul may be, in humility, speaking of his own faith: admitting that from time to time, he may be feeling tossed to and fro. This is a confession of his own awareness that he could be tempted by those who try to scheme and pull him away from the faith. 

Paul never seemed to expect anything from anyone else that he wouldn’t do himself. Therefore, this confession of his own weakness is then an example to others who are also being tossed about. He needed to remain firmly anchored, and if he did, so much more did his readers. 

Application:

There are days when secular humanism comes crashing in on our doorstep. A culture that is adopting humanity as god, and co-opting the language of Christianity in an effort to create confusion can certainly make us feel tossed about. It’s easy to think that we are somehow weak in our faith because there are days that we are shaken. That’s when these words become such an encouragement. Paul, the one who had the Damascus road encounter with Christ, was dealing with false doctrines, scheming and craftiness on a regular basis. Even Paul, was having his struggles and he was willing to admit this to those whom he had led to Christ. 

Paul’s letters would eventually become a part of the New Testament canon, but at the time that they were written, they were simply letters. He and the fledgling church of the first century were trying to figure out what it meant to be Christians in their world. The ways in which they lived their lives had to be a witnesses to what it meant to follow Christ. This is why Paul would tell them to “follow me as I follow Christ.” There was no arrogance in this, but rather, the honest journey of a Christ follower who wanted to help others find the way. 

So when we feel tossed about, and we are wrestling with all that is thrown our way, we are not to fear. We are to be honest, just like Paul, but then, turn our faces toward our Savior, and ask for strength in the midst of the storm. The winds will blow — that is just reality. Every now and then we may need to regroup and make sure we still know where we are standing, but then, just like Paul, we will continue to stand, even when tossed to and fro. 

Prayer:

Lord, as this journey continues, may I continue to grow up in you, strengthened by knowing you. Amen. 

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