I have 20/20 vision; why do I still have a problem seeing?
Paul has just shown believers their security of eternal life and how much their Creator, not only loves them, but also deeply desires to “lavish” on them His goodness! Now Paul moves to encourage us, based on our position of blessing that he has just enumerated, to be...
fervent in our life to KNOW God! How is this done?
Ephesians 1:15-21 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
First: It is very important that we, in the Body of Christ seek ways to affirm one another. Paul does that here:
Ephesians 1:15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
When you have been working hard and feel tired, then someone pats you on the back and tells you what a great job you are doing, those words and actions are fuel to the soul. You feel reenergized, and the desire to complete the job takes hold. In an evil world that loves to tear people down, we should not move in that direction. Paul is employing the attitude he expressed when he wrote the church in Philippi:
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Paul now shows us exactly what we should be looking for if we truly desire to know God intimately.
This is the ability to process and apply all the knowledge that we learn from our walk with God. This includes knowledge of Him, of the world and ourselves. The Holy Spirit will help us take in all Truth; whether it be from scripture, nature or life, then process it into applicable Truth. That is where the person with "knowledge only" misses it! They have all the data but don’t know what it means or what to do with it.
OK Nate, that sounds great, but how does it work? Good question…and Paul gives us the answer:
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened,
Illumination! What does that mean? This means that the Spirit of God illuminates Truth for us. To illuminate means: brightened with light, intellectually or spiritually enlightened, to make clear.
What’s important here is that we understand that we cannot do this on our own. This is a work of God and we need to keep a conscious connection to the Holy Spirit through all the moments of our life. He will help you see when it appears dark or dim, He will open your mind to understand the Scriptures…even if it is to simply understand that this particular issue you will never understand because it is one of God’s secrets! (Deut 29:29) He will take Truth and make it clear!
Paul’s prayer for illumination covers three specific areas of knowledge.
so that you will know what is the hope of His calling,
Hope of His calling – Paul’s desire for each believer to possess a sense of his or her destiny. God has a plan to maximize every believer’s life, not just some.
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
Riches of His glory of His inheritance – Paul’s desire is that every believer understands their real wealth! It’s not of this world; we may have many temporal blessings, because God is very generous, but our real inheritance begins with how we handle those temporal blessings. If we handle them in a way that glorifies Him, we take the rewards of that to heaven with us and then we receive our greatest inheritance; Face to Face relationship with Him forever!
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
What is the surpassing greatness of His power – Paul’s desire is for each believer to experience real victory over the enemy and this system. The War is won…Jesus already accomplished that…but now we live from battle to battle until we are with Him. God does not intend us to limp to eternity. He has supplied through the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures and the Body of Christ all that we need to live in victory! What does that look like? Victory is not happiness, for that is a momentary emotion. Life will have its ups and downs…it did for Jesus, so who do we think we are that it will not also happen to us?
Victory is made up of three intangible elements. We cannot exactly explain them, BUT we know when we have them. Joy – that deep sense that nothing can ruin your life because God is in control. Peace – that deep calm that let’s you know…no matter the circumstances you are safe in Him. Contentment – the freedom of knowing that in this life, there is only One opinion that matters, only One Person’s approval you desire – Jesus Christ! When these three possess your heart and soul – you will run home to Jesus with strength of soul…even if your body is aged and broken, the inner man will be renewed day by day until you go home!
Consider: How God sees me as a child is based on my position in Christ. I either have it or I don’t. The salvation God has brought is complete and unchangeable. It is more important that I spend time understanding what has been revealed then spending time debating about what has not been revealed. My praise and glorifying of God should be in response to Who He is and what He has done, not in order to gain His favor. That is what obedience is for. I must see my Christian life as constant growth. I will be learning more about Him and His works even when I live in heaven.
 Merriam-Webster, I. (1996). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. (10th ed.). Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.: Merriam-Webster.