I Am God’s Holy Child
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 1:1
Sometimes we encounter someone who believes in us so fervently their faith inspires us to soar.
My teenaged self was miserable, plagued by fears I’d never be good enough and overwhelmed by all the changes in my body. Then I found myself in Mrs. Sampson’s tenth grade classroom. Mrs. Sampson was the sort of teacher who made everyone feel valued and worthy. We had an A in her class, and all we had to do was maintain it.
We were smart and funny, or so she made us believe—responsible and intelligent enough to handle the work she gave and then some.
A unique psychology arose: We wanted to be as good as she believed us to be! We didn’t want to disappoint her. It became a magical time of learning and growth. Later, when I taught, I wanted to do that same thing for my students. It’s empowering to watch people blossom as they live into a label of capability and strength.
My former teacher reminds me of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, from which today’s verse comes. In first century Palestine, it was incredibly difficult to follow Jesus. Christians faced persecution and death and were used to being hated. I imagine they had days when they struggled with feelings of worth and ability much like I did as a teenager, not sure they could go on.
But like my teacher, Paul didn’t hide his encouragement. He reminded them who they were at their core: people chosen by God! God’s “holy people,” he called them—special, endowed with gifts of faith and eternal soul-blessings beyond measure. I hope they, like that bunch of teens in Mrs. Sampson’s classroom those years ago, found comfort and hope in Paul’s words.
Some days are hard. We may wonder why God entrusts us, so inferior and sinful, with the mighty task of spreading His Gospel. But we are God’s blessed people. And together, we rise to the task.
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning journalist and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministry team. She’s also an author who currently serves as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. She is the author of More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey (2018) and editor of Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists (2018), both from her newspaper’s Advocate Press. She also writes contemporary women’s fiction, represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her novel The Memory Garden won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ 2018 Genesis Contest. She has a faith blog at JessicaBrodie.com.
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Originally published Monday, 25 September 2023.