In Ephesians 1:5, Paul tells us that it is God’s plan for us grow up and be true sons rather than just children. According to theologian Marva Dawn;
“To be an adolescent is still to clamor for instant gratification. To be a son in the sense used by the biblical writers is to be trained to fulfill the Father’s mission and to know that always with the rights of sonship come attendant responsibilities. To be a son is to be the agent of the Father and to do the Father’s work. This requires obligation, commitment, and accountability.”
Marva goes on to say that even though the Greek language used by Paul can be translated as either son or daughter, she chose to apply the term son to herself as a woman.
“God has foreordained that through Jesus Christ we should be adopted as sons. Contemporary feminist critique would like to eliminate the word son here, since the Greek word for adoption can also signify a daughter. However, I prefer to use the word for the sake of another point. One of the problems in churches these days is that we have too many adolescents and not enough sons.
“But it is also an immense privilege, so I, as a woman, am thrilled about my sonship in Christ. The early Christian Church was noticeable in its surrounding society because of its inclusion of women in all the rights and responsibilities of sonship. Ephesians 1:5 concludes that this foreordaining for adoption was “according to the desire of [God’s] will,” and the Greek word Paul chooses for “desire” emphasizes that it is favored on the basis of its being beneficial (SD 25.8). The will of God desires what is good for us.” Marva J. Dawn. The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering the Call
Jesus’ Parable of the Sower and the Seed in Mark 4:1–20, gives us a starting point in praying for the growth to mature from adolescents to blessed sonship. This is a growth process we have been designed for, but cannot achieve on our own. It is dependent upon God’s Grace and Power—Jesus’ story in Mark 4 gives us a starting place.
Pray for Change and Trust in God
- Pray against Satan’s plans. [v15]
The people hear the message. Then Satan comes. He takes away the message that was planted in them.
This is also addressed in James 4:7,
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
- Pray that we grow roots. [v16, 17]
The people hear the message. At once they receive it with joy. 17 But they have no roots. So they last only a short time. They quickly fall away from the faith when trouble or suffering comes because of the message.
Developing spiritual depth through the daily discipline of entertaining the presence of God and walking in obedience supports the whole person, in every aspect of our life. Ephesians 4:14-16 says We will no longer be babies. We will not longer be like ships tossed around by the waves…blown here and there by every new teaching… [or] by the cleverness and tricks of people… Instead, we will speak the truth in love. We will grow up into Christ in every way.
- Pray that we focus on God first. (v18, 19)
The people hear the message. But then the worries of this life come to them. Wealth comes with its false promises. The people also long for other things. All of those are the kinds of things that crowd out the message. They keep it from producing fruit.
Psalm 119:105 says that
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
- Pray for help in pursuing after God. (v. 20)
The people hear the message. They accept it. They produce a good crop 30, 60, or even 100 times more than the farmer planted.”
Fruitfulness is the response of our pursuit of God and his grace in our life.
For more on this listen to the audio message entitled “Praying For Change” at http://www.valleyfellowship.org/audio.
We talked about this concept in small group on Tuesday night. I had never thought about turning this scripture into a prayer! Love that concept. Love the blog. Love you!