Paul suffered much because of his trust in Christ and the work that God had given him to do (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). At the time when Paul wrote the Book of Ephesians, he was a prisoner, probably in Rome (3:1).
Of course, many Christians still suffer like that today. It can be hard for other Christians to know what their reaction should be to such reports. Often they feel a sense of fear when they hear such news. Perhaps they worry about those Christians who must suffer so much. Or perhaps they are afraid about what they themselves would do in such troubles.
However, God is able to make his people strong in every possible circumstance (3:16). He supports them with his great love (Romans 8:35-39); he gives them joy even in the worst circumstances (for example, Paul wrote Philippians 4:4 as a prisoner). Godís promises give his people hope that cannot fail (Hebrews 6:19). His word, the Bible, makes them strong (Psalm 1:1-3).
On the other hand, fear can only make us weak, and not strong. We need to pray for courage; then, we will be able to do Godís work and to declare his message boldly. God can help us to speak for him even during our worst troubles (Mark 13:11). Christ taught us to be glad, even when we suffer because of our trust in him (Matthew 5:11-12).
So Paul told the Christians in Ephesus not to consider it shameful that he was suffering. Rather, it was a matter of honour for them that Paul was standing firm for Christ in such great troubles. It was evidence of how powerfully God was working, both in Paulís life, and in the lives of all Christians.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.