19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (NIV)
In Chapter 9 of my book Dressed for Victory: Putting on the Full Armor of God, I quote Ephesians and explore, in detail, Paul speaking on behalf of his country and his people to a group who may or may not know anything about him or even want to know. In the biblical text he tells us that he is addressing them on behalf of another. He is speaking for God and for his people. Keep in mind, Paul has been imprisoned for quite some time, and his ability to speak strongly about his faith and his people is admirable, especially given his circumstances. In his mind, he sees himself as an ambassador, and, to him, that appears to be even more important than if he were speaking on behalf of himself. It is more important to him to represent God and his people effectively.
As a pastor, part of my job is to engage my congregation to action and to urge them to seek deeper faith and enlightenment. Many times, however, I don’t see what happens to the individuals when they leave, aside from other fellowship within the church. I wonder, on occasion, if the Word of God stays in the minds and on the lips of my congregants, and if, when everyone leaves, they too, like Paul, act as ambassadors of faith and represent their background, their church, and their individual approaches to worship and relationships with God in their daily lives.
While we feel our faith deeply and worship enthusiastically on a regular basis, it can be difficult to advocate for our individual perspectives in life situations at work, at school, in our neighborhoods, or other places. Just as we argue for political justice or just as we stand up when civil or personal rights have been taken away, so should we stand up for our faith. Not everyone feels the same way we do. Not everyone understands our perspective when it comes to faith, worship, and God, but our opinion and our perspective matters. We can never forget that what we say and how we feel about God is important. When the opportunity arises to praise His name and to defend our own beliefs, we should seize it!
I strongly feel that when we do this, we feel better about ourselves, and we also begin to better understand our own faith. When we defend our beliefs to others, and when we aim to detail the truth of the Word of God in a challenging situation, we find ourselves sharing with others, in our own heartfelt words, about our relationship with God and what that relationship means to our lives. We find ourselves understanding why we even have such deep faith to begin with. By imparting the Word of God to others or staying mindful of the fact that we need to be ambassadors of faith, we keep ourselves on track, and we keep ourselves in God’s favor.