Friday, August 19, 2011

Observations from Ephesians 1:15-21

I just spent some time wrestling through Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:15-21. It's all one sentence, in case you didn't know. That's part of why there was mental wrestling required. Here is the text:

15For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[a] toward all the saints, 16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked 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 above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

1. Even Christians are in need of a spiritual awakening that only God can perform  Even Christians known for their faith and love, as is the case with the Ephesian (or Laodicean) Christians, are in need of continual and greater work in the "eyes of their hearts". It's not just a believer's initial conversion that requires a work of God upon the heart. The full potential of the Christian life cannot be reached without these eye-opening works of God. Oh my, we need more than 5 easy steps or good advice, much less "life coaching". We continually need grace from the living God on our dead hearts. Even our hearts made alive are "dead" compared to what they could be...always pray for greater awareness of God and His glory and the riches of your inheritance.

2. The power of God in our lives is the same power as that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him above all created things in heaven and on earth. This is an unbreakable power. This is an unbeatable power. So who are we to drag our feet and wallow in our sins and our hurts in place of a bold and confident Christian life? I am not suggesting that there is no place to grieve, or that God does not allow us to live with continual pain in order to direct us continually to Him. I believe firmly in both of those things. Rather I am saying that grief is no reason to stop having a boldness of faith, or having a confidence that faithfulness to God will result in joy for ourselves and for those around us, forever.

3. Spiritual growth in people we know is reason for continued prayer for them, not a stoppage in prayer. It does affect the way we pray for them, however. But seeing the change and transformation in them encourages and excites us (doesn't it?) and inspires us to pray for more of that.

4. I cannot do justice to this text. I hope you'll spend more time with it than this blog about it.


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