Ephesians 1:16-19 (HCSB) says, “I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. ⌊I pray⌋ that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. ⌊I pray⌋ that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.”
In this passage Paul is asking that God would give his friends and colleagues at Ephesus the wisdom and revelation that is found in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Then Paul prays something very interesting; that the perception of their mind may be enlightened. Enlightenment is a highly sought after and rarely attained experience, but Paul isn’t talking about some strange mystic enlightenment, it is specific, in fact, it includes three things!
The first thing is knowledge of “the hope of His calling.” The second, knowledge of “what are the glories riches of His inheritance among the saints.” And the third is knowledge about “the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe.” The second and third are very profound but it is the first piece of the “enlightenment” that demands some attention.
“The hope of His calling”
Have you ever had that terrifying thought that God might ask you to do something genuinely terrible? I mean, we talk about that proverbially “call to Africa” but really what most people fear is simply that God is going to ask them something that will take them away from the people and things they love most. Hidden within many hearts is a secret fight. It is a fight between wanting to do what God is asking of us and the fear that it will cost us too much. But what is too much?
To be sure God asks His followers to sacrifice and to do difficult things; things that affect our relationships and comfort, but you know what? This verse assures us that within the call of Jesus Christ on our lives is hope. Who doesn’t want hope? Perhaps the reason many people don’t live with hope is that they actually don’t want to obey the calling of God in their lives. They don’t even realize that the end result is the thing their heart longs for!
Even Jesus “endured the cross for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2).
I don’t think that the issue actually lies within the calling God has for us (or the one we think He has for us), but rather in the fact that when it comes right down to it, we don’t know if God is actually good. If we truly understood the goodness of God, we would no longer fear anything He asked of us because we would understand that our loving Father only asks of us what will result in the greatest rewards in His Kingdom. There is nothing to fear when we respond to the calling of God on our lives.
But we do fear! And why is that? Because we are not naturally trusting individuals. Far from it! And we are particularly skeptical of anyone who tries to tell us what to do. This is why the knowledge of God comes through a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Where we do not naturally know the Truth, it must be revealed supernaturally. I wonder if half the people in the world who are sourly doing “God’s work” aren’t actually doing what God asked them to do in the first place! They are guessing at what God is asking of them!
Happy New Year, by the way! And about that, do you know what God is calling you and your family to this year? Why not take a minute today at the table to ask the kids what they think God wants to accomplish in your family this year. Tell them that if we listen and obey what God is asking of us then we will experience hope like never before. Who wouldn’t want that for their family?
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