Ephesians 1:15-23 is such a powerful prayer. Paul prays some really big things for the believers in Ephesus, all of it based on what he had just told them in verses 3-14. "For this reason"... I pray all of these things. I really liked how Wendy summarized it, "Because God determined before time began to adopt us into his family, to redeem us from our sins, to lavish his grace on us, to reveal his plans to us, and to give us his Spirit as a seal to us to guarantee our inheritance as his children, we enter this prayer of thanksgiving." There is so much to unpackage here and I won't pretend to hit on it all, but a couple of things stood out.
Paul prays that the believers in Ephesus would have a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of their hearts enlightened. I think I forget at times how much I need the Holy Spirit to open my eyes as I dig into the Word. I can study and study and study, but unless God opens the eyes of my heart to understand the depths of the truths I'm reading and studying about, I'll never get it! I need the Spirit to work in me through the Word. I can do nothing on my own.
But there is a reason he asks for that for these people. There is a nice little word in there, 'that.' 'That you may know...' Oh there is so much to know about God!! And Paul gives us quite the list here. "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." Three things: our hope, our inheritance, and His power.
Wendy started off talking about our hope in a neat way. "In verses 3-14, Paul dealt with the facts of our calling. Now he calls on us to attach to it an emotion--hope." This hope has a foundation. We can have hope because of all that we learned in verses 3-14. We have hope because of the grace that God lavishes on us, because of the inheritance we have, because the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance, because of the spiritual blessings he pours down on us. These and more are the reasons for our hope! The emotion of hope emerges as the substance as these facts get driven deep into our hearts and minds. I must continually bring to mind these truths to have the hope that emerges from my calling in Christ.
We also have an inheritance. A rich inheritance at that! Sometimes I am the spiritual miser that Wendy described with so much spiritual wealth at my fingertips but so wretched and unhappy. Why or why do I get that way? Duh, Abbie! I let myself forget about my inheritance! I am wealthy beyond imagination because I have been left a huge spiritual inheritance. Forget about inheriting money. As nice as that might sound, how much better to inherit the rich, eternal, spiritual inheritance that God has left for us!
And lastly, power. God doesn't leave us wondering what power he's referring to either. He reminds us that the power we have access to is the same power that raised Christ from the dead, seated him at the right hand of the Father, above every name that is named at any point in human history or the future. All things are under his feet! This is THE GOD. The one and only most powerful God and His power is directed in our favor!
This is kind of a lot for one day. There is so much here! But as I meditate on these things, even in their limited scope that I understand them and describe them here, hope truly is the result. I have SO much in Christ!