New American Standard Version
28 Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly in order that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you.
29 Therefore receive him in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.
So, since God has been so gracious to restore him (Epaphroditus) to health and strength, I truly believe the time is right for him to return to you and to his home. I know that when you see him again with your own eyes it will relieve your anxiety and give joy to your hearts. It will ease my mind as well for you to have such a joyous reunion.
When he arrives, give him a warm and joyous “Welcome Home” celebration! We should esteem and honor brothers in the Lord like him because he is so deeply committed to our Savior that he was willing to give his very life if the cause of Christ had demanded it. He was willing to put himself in grave danger to be your representative to bring me the aid and assistance that God had directed you to provide for me.
“How does this help me become more like Him?”
I am not a big fan of reality television. I will occasionally watch an episode of “The Amazing Race” with my wife because it is one of her very favorite shows. But just seeing the commercials for shows like “Fear Factor”, “Survivor”, and others, I am blown away at the crazy, dangerous stuff people will do to win the competition on the show. The risks that they take and the danger they are willing to submit themselves to just because of a TV show is truly amazing.
Yet, so many times in the Christian life, we are content just to “play it safe”. Sometimes the Lord asks us to “step to the edge of the cliff, jump off, and trust Him”. That’s scary! To voluntarily give up control or put ourselves in a situation where we have to count on the Lord to come through or we’re “sunk” requires real faith!
In today’s passage, Paul recognizes that Epaphroditus put himself in a dangerous situation to be obedient to God and come to Paul’s aid. The Scripture is filled with men and women of courage who were willing to take great risks to follow God. Noah spent years building a gigantic boat because God told him to though it had never even rained. Abraham took his beloved son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him to God though he couldn’t begin to understand why God would tell him to do such a thing. Esther interceded for her people before the King though it could have cost her everything. Mary risked her reputation and her very life to bear the Christ child though what God was asking of her was physiologically impossible. They were men and women of God not afraid to take risks in order to be faithful to what God asked them to do.
God is not asking us to be foolish or reckless with irresponsible plans of our own but He is asking us to trust and follow him into areas of our lives that require that we go far beyond our human capabilities and into an area that requires complete faith and trust in Him. Are you insisting on “playing it safe” and being a “show me first” Christian or are you willing to “look over the edge of the cliff and take a flying leap” when God says “Jump!” There is no limit to what God can do through a man or woman who is willing to be a “holy risk taker” for Him!
“How should I pray for Him to change my life?”
Ask the Lord to give you the courage to do anything He might ask of you. Pray for the wisdom to be able to know when God is leading you to do something out of the ordinary from a human perspective. Let Him know that you are willing to go anywhere or do anything He leads you to do and trust Him to do the impossible through you.