For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 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, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might…” ~Eph 1:16-19
So Paul has rejoiced over the blessings in Jesus Christ and then begins to pray for the Ephesian church. The prayer is that the eyes of your heart are enlightened – my heart can deceive, it can be led astray. My affections source in my heart. G. Archer calls it the “desire producer that makes us tick.” Scripture is clear that my heart can deceive, it can grow hardened, it can be proud. But I am commanded to love the Lord with all of my heart, to be consumed with Him, to obey and serve wholeheartedly.
I need constant recalibration, a re-setting of my heart on the truths of what has been given to me with salvation so that I don’t shift to a works mentality (Galatians speaks to this) or to a worldly (as seen in Colossians) thinking and then forget. We were just at the beach, and I was reminded of the pull and shifting of the unseen currents. We all know how to mark our position in the water by constantly looking back to shore where our chairs or towels are. We do this because we know that little by little, moment by moment, the currents in the ocean are pushing us in a direction that will shift us away. I can distinctly remember times when I have looked back to shore only to realize that I am far away from where I began.
The same is true spiritually – if I’m not looking at the truth of God’s Word and making adjustments to keep in line with His truth, I will drift.
So I listen and allow the Spirit to preach the Gospel to me: I have a hope I have been called to – an eternity that will not change, an eternity in the presence of God. I have wonderful riches as His child – my position has changed from that of a lost in sin law follower who will fail to his perfected new creation living in grace. And I have his great power that defeated sin and death is at work in me, changing me, making me more like Him.
The Holy Spirit is at work in me, revealing His wisdom, His truth as He grows me in knowing Him. We were sealed with the Holy Spirit – Paul has just told us that blessing and now he lists out 3 areas or truths that we know in ever increasing measure as the Spirit leads us and we surrender to His teaching: the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of his power. To know these 3 sets everything else in place regardless of what the day brings.
Hope: we all desire to know what will come – peace is sought after (often frantically) whether we are wanting to know tomorrow or forever – the human mind longs for peace in its future. Our redemption is the only hope that doesn’t disappoint.
Riches: we long for comfort made possible by riches; we will seek money to give us present comfort, hoping it will numb our need for peace as well; no matter what we say about money- if everything was stripped, we would panic. For our heart’s natural affections are for present day comfort, but His riches are far greater. Riches of the Gospel, wisdom and knowledge of God, understanding of His grace, the riches of His love which secures.
Power: we all desire to be safe, protected, assured of victory. Jesus was victorious at the cross. All eternity is assured, my position is secure – I am safe from sin and death. But I am also a recipient of that power here as I struggle in this daily walk with Him. John Piper says, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and what became of him after his resurrection, shows the greatness of God’s power toward us now in this life.” He is the one working in me, changing me, His power in me. Paul wants us to see how great this power is – the same power that raised Christ from the dead and glorifies him forever – that power has and will continue to fill me with the fullness of Him. He fills all my empty places, all the areas I cannot “do” He will complete, all the places my faith stumbles, He perseveres, all the moments I fear, He is my strength.
So many times in the day my mind wants to run down the lanes of fear and doubt, wondering what my future holds – How did the day get so off track? why do I respond the way I do? what will this child do in life, especially with me as his mother messing him up? am I helping this one enough? can I do everything I’ve put on my plate? do I take stuff off? How do I ensure _____? all the what ifs? And before I know it, I am down the current of worry, doubt or fear, swept up in my wonderings. My affections, my desires shift to tangible outcomes today that I think may be achievable through performance.
All the while I float away from my anchor of truth – that all I need is wrapped up in the Person of Jesus Christ and that all hope, power, and riches are mine, fully supplied. But in your grace, Holy Spirit shift my eyes back to You and move me back in line with your sustaining truths that don’t depend on me.