Monday, May 30, 2005

The Eyes of Your Understanding

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.
(Ephesians 1:15-18)
This is one of Paul’s powerful pastoral prayers. He was offering it for a young church learning to walk in faith and love. It is a Trinitarian prayer. That is, in it we see the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory and the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus is the basis of our fellowship with God because of His what He came to do for us.
  • The Father of Glory speaks of the family we are now a part of, because of Jesus, and the inheritance of glory we now have in Him. Glory is the manifestation of God’s greatness and goodness. (See A Partnership in the Glory Realm)
  • The Spirit is given to us to impart wisdom and revelation, so that we might know God more and more intimately.
As gifted as Paul was at teaching and preaching, he realized that what these young churches really needed was the wisdom and revelation that comes directly from the Holy Spirit. That is something that happens, not in the mind, but as an activity of the Spirit of God at work in our spirit. Paul calls this an enlightening of the eyes of our understanding, therefore it has to do with seeing in the spirit, seeing the kingdom of God.

The purpose, as Paul continues in Ephesians 1:18, is “that you may know.” This is not theoretical knowledge, merely something to which you give mental assent. No, it is practical, intimate knowledge that comes out of vital relationship, in this case, relationship with God.

There are three things Paul wants the Holy Spirit to reveal to you and me, and they are all about God and how He is at work in us:
  • The hope of His calling (v. 18). It is His calling, His initiative, not ours. He is the caller, we are the callees. He is calling forth something in us — something wonderful — and He will bring it all the way through to completion.
  • The riches us of the glory of His inheritance (v. 18). There is an inheritance at work in us, the inheritance we receive from God, and it is full of His greatness and goodness.
  • The exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe (v. 19). Theologians call this the omnipotence of God — His all-powerfulness. That is awesome in itself, but what is even more magnificent is that God applies that exceeding great power on our behalf. It is the exact same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him high above all principality, power, might and dominion, and every name that is named (v. 20-21). This is the power that is at work in us (see Ephesians 3:20).
Father of Glory, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask You to give wisdom and revelation by Your Holy Spirit to the one who is reading this today. That they may know You more and more intimately, experience Your love and grace, the wonderful destiny to which You have called them, the tremendous inheritance which You desire to place within them, and the exceeding greatness of Your mighty power, at work in them to fulfill Your great goodness in their life. That they may see Your kingdom breaking forth into their world. Amen.