Why do I have 9 arms?

Photo by J. Epperson

The nine armed sea star is a crazy looking critter. I recently had the delight of finding one while searching for sea shells with my son. I had never seen anything quite like it before. Unlike five armed sea stars (or star fish as I used to call them), it has nine arms that are used for feeding, digging, and moving around. Why nine arms and not five is beyond me. What I do know is that God, in his perfect design, chose to create them that way. This little critter obviously does not sit there and ask “Why do I have 9 arms?” It just lives and does what it was designed and intended to do and be.

As humans we are all created in God’s image and God has made us each as unique individuals. As believers we also know that we each have a unique role and purpose in this world and we need to be doing what He has called and purposed us to do. The way we understand His will and purpose for our life is to draw close to him, to dig in and study His word and pray.

Romans 12:1-2 gives us a crystal clear insight into how we go about knowing His will for our lives.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

As we determine to be transformed by God, and not be conformed to this world, we are able to “prove” or know what God’s perfect will is. Let’s start asking God what he wants us to know about himself and get busy living our lives for Him!

Laboring in Prayer for One Another

Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12 NKJV

One of the amazing blessings and privileges we have as bondservants of Christ is to pray for one another. As Paul is wrapping up his letter to the believers at the church in Colosse, he includes remarks pertaining to the active work of the believers in the church to support and encourage each other.

Epaphras is only mentioned twice in Scripture, once here in the letter to the Colossians and also in Paul’s letter to Philemon. In this passage Paul specifically speaks of Epaphras as “…always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” What an incredible statement of the Christ-like character and behavior of Epaphras. His steadfast commitment to prayer for other believers is commendable all on its own. But Paul states the specific nature of Epaphras’ prayer stating that he was burdened to pray for more than just the day-to-day things that fill another believers days, but that these fellow bondservants would “stand“, or be completely confident, unwavering in their faith, and in the knowledge and purpose of living a life completely yielded to the will of God.

What an incredible blessing that must have been to be a part of the church in Colosse and to know that there is a fellow believer praying fervently for them that they might be living a confident, faith-filled life in the perfect will of God.

Perhaps this is something each of us can consider and commit to making a part of our personal prayer lives in the days ahead. Perhaps we can commit to pray for our own churches, for the fellow believers in our life, and perhaps even for a church that we used to attend. Perhaps we can pray specifically that they “…may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

In Christ…Tim