Imagine being stranded on a desert island with no one around for immediate assistance. How would you cope? How would you handle the loneliness and disillusionment after days of little food and water, hot sun or cold nights, awaiting a rescue?
I just finished a wonderful week of Vacation Bible School (VBS) where the theme centered on being “shipwrecked” on a deserted island to teach kids and adults about the most important rescue plan. I heard over and over last week, “Jesus Rescues – Always”. No matter what circumstance you face: worry, loneliness, struggles, sin, or feeling powerless – Jesus rescues.
The message of the Bible is all about God’s rescue plan for sinners stranded in this world. This month we will be refreshed by the words of a man who knew firsthand of shipwrecks, imprisonment, and suffering. The words this disciple penned in his lifetime are some of my favorites and have buoyed me in times of fatigue, loneliness, despair, as well as times of great joy. Paul himself was saved by the divine Rescuer on the road to Damascus and longed to point people to Jesus as the only One who can truly save.
Paul wrote feverishly in his life, especially while imprisoned in Rome around 60-61 A.D. He longed to encourage fellow believers in the faith and was resolute in living with one main purpose: “For me, to live is Christ, and to die gain” Philippians 1:21. He also stated his desires and goals multiple times in his letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians:
“To proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.” ~ Ephesians 3:8-9 (CSB)
“My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.” ~ Philippians 3:10-11 (CSB)
“I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery – Christ. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” ~ Colossians 2:2-3 (CSB)
Each of these letters contains treasures to uncover. Much like being shipwrecked on a deserted island, many of us find ourselves powerless to handle the circumstances we are in. Paul undeniably points to Jesus as our Rescuer who has the treasures of eternal life. His letters also provide practical wisdom for how to access the Rescuer and live a life worthy of Him.
We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. In Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ~ Colossians 1:9-14 (CSB)
May you come away from this month of reading with a deeper understanding of the Rescuer Jesus and how to follow Him. Allow Paul’s words to refresh and restore your spirit and embolden you to share the message of the Rescuer to others around you – whether in words or action. For when you are lonely, tired, angry, joyful, fill in the blank…Jesus Rescues.
Use these “dig deeper” points from our reading plan to guide you this month.
- Take some time to ponder the depth of God’s love, mercy, and grace. Write a list of descriptive words pertaining to these three attributes of God.
- Describe the “fruit of righteousness” in your life (Philippians). How can you grow in this area?
- What practical steps could you take to “clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience?”