24 I am happy because of what I am suffering for you. My suffering joins with and continues the sufferings of Christ. I suffer for his body, which is the church. 25 I serve the church. God appointed me to bring the complete word of God to you. 26 That word contains the mystery that has been hidden for many ages. But now it has been made known to the Lord’s people. 27 God has chosen to make known to them the glorious riches of that mystery. He has made it known among the Gentiles. And here is what it is. Christ is in you. He is your hope of glory. 28 Christ is the one we preach about. With all the wisdom we have, we warn and teach everyone. When we bring them to God, we want them to be like Christ. We want them to be grown up as people who belong to Christ. 29 That’s what I’m working for. I work hard with all the strength of Christ. His strength works powerfully in me.
Three things strike me from this passage: the importance of telling the complete and accurate message; Paul’s childlike excitement in revealing the secret plan of God; and the secret itself which is that Christ lives in us.
Paul teaches the ENTIRE message. He knows it’s important to do this rather than to extract and focus on certain popular aspects of it. He WARNS as well as teaches, relying on the wisdom God gives to him. The reason he does this is because he wants the people to be blameless when they come before God. This is Paul’s God given responsibility and it is one he takes seriously enough to live with the physical suffering this brings him.
Despite all this seriousness, Paul is excited and energised by the good news he has to tell. Gods plan all along was that the Gentiles would also receive Jesus and enter His kingdom. He can’t wait to tell them. Does the incredible reality of the gospel inspire us to tell people about the gift God has for them?
The best thing about having a good secret is, after a suitable period of suspense, revealing it to a curious audience and seeing their reaction. Watching as someone opens a present from you, or revealing the twist in the tail of a movie. The secret hidden from the Jews all that time is that Jesus lives in all believers now, through the Indwelling of His Holy Spirit. Now it all makes sense. How much Paul wants them to see this.
Am I keeping the secret, or revealing it? The message is still that the Holy Spirit is here for everyone. Do I rely on God for the wisdom I need to speak the message. Is the message worth enough to me that I am willing to sacrifice my comfort. These things are a continual struggle for me. But when I tell the things of God to those around me with joy and energy people respond with interest and curiosity.
Lord I pray that your active presence in my life continues to inspire me to talk about you, and that others will catch the excitement. Amen
Written by Dimity Milne