Paul was never satisfied with the conversion of the lost. As soon as they turned to Christ he began to teach them the glorious truths which the ascended Lord had revealed to him from heaven. Nor did he cease to pray that their hearts might be opened to receive these truths. Several of his prayers are recorded for us in his epistles. In the first chapter of Ephesians we find him praying:
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:
“The eyes of your understanding [Lit., “your heart”] being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe…” (Eph. 1:17-19).
Should not we, who know Christ as Savior and Lord, begin our Christian lives here? Should we not pray earnestly that God will indeed open “the eyes of our hearts,” so that not only with the mind, but with the heart we may rejoice in “the hope of His calling” (See II Tim. 1:9), “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (See Eph. 5:25-27) and “the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe” (See Eph. 1:19-21)?
But seeing and rejoicing in these truths is only the beginning. If our lives have been enriched by “the knowledge of the mystery” how we should yearn to impart these riches to those about us!
Even while in prison at Rome, Paul proclaimed his God-given message to all with whom he came into contact, but he longed for still greater opportunity, requesting his fellow-saints to pray:
“…that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which also I am in bonds” (Col. 4:3).
Is it not quite possible, even probable, that we who know the truth of the mystery often fail to witness to others about it because we have first of all failed to pray to God to open doors, to give us appropriate opportunities to witness to our friends?
In one sense such opportunities are constantly confronting us if we are but aware of them. In this sense God says to us, as to the Philadelphian church of the Revelation: “Behold, I have set before thee an open door” (Rev. 3:8); it is your unfaithfulness if you do not enter it; if you fail to take advantage of the opportunity.
But we need even more than open doors, or opportunities to make the blessed message known. We need open mouths; we need boldness.
It is amazing that even the great Apostle Paul needed help in this too, for contrary to popular opinion, he was by nature timid and retiring. He reminds the Corinthians how he first appeared among them “in weakness, and in fear and in much trembling” (I Cor. 2:3). And these were not mere words written for effect, for Luke, his companion, relates how the fearful apostle needed special encouragement from the Lord during his Corinthian ministry:
“Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace;
“For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee, for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:9,10).
It is not strange, then, to find the apostle asking the saints to pray….
“…for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,
“For which I am an ambassador in bonds, that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:19,20).
How our adversary, the devil, would close our mouths and keep us from proclaiming “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery!” How he would fill us with fear, or seek to convince us that it pleases God more if we are modest and retiring!
The fact is that where personal matters are concerned we should be meek, gladly bearing insult and abuse for Christ’s sake. But where the proclamation of His truth is concerned we “ought to speak boldly” as the above passage indicates.
May God convict us of whatever keeps us from opening our mouths boldly to proclaim the mystery, whether is be indifference or fear. May it be our constant, earnest prayer “that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”