So, I wanted to teach a class on the book of Ephesians this Fall. Alas, events have superseded my plans and it isn't going to happen. Which is a bit sad. I like teaching books of the Bible because it compels me to really learn the text ("To teach is to learn") and, practically, my notes usually would end up as the basis for a sermon series.
So, I'm going to post some of my thoughts from going through the book. I hope these thoughts will help you. So, here we go:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Chris (Eph. 1:1-2 ESV)
Paul, the writer of this letter, became an apostle “by God’s will.” Let's focus on that observation. An apostle, literally, is one who is "sent forth." It would be similar to 'receiving a commission.' There is both an authority implied ('someone sent me, and I'm obeying those orders') and an implied authority to act on behalf of the master ('I'm here, acting on orders, to get these things done with the delegated authority of the Master').
Paul's role, mission, purpose, and even position was given to him for a specific purpose. God wanted Paul to do these things. Paul is compelled to fulfill that role both because 1) a powerful authority (God!) commands him, and 2) Paul has a desire to not disappoint his master.
As for me, my position-role-ministry is also by God’s will. It is not as big or grand as Paul’s (though let's remember that his situation was rarely comfortable and his positional authority frequently ignored). Yet, where I am now, in my situation and role, is by God’s will. He put me here to be here until he tells me otherwise.
God accomplishes his purposes and his ultimate will is not thwarted - ultimately. I can (and do!) thwart God's will for my life All. The. Time. That happens whenever I sin. But God's purpose and will ultimately prevail.
So, now it's your turn: are you at the place where you can see your circumstances in light of God's will? Are there things you are regularly doing that are getting in the way of what God wants to accomplish through you? Do the things that you know God wants you to do create fear or anxiety in you? Do you think that God really loves you and has a plan for your life?