A Mind-Blowing Devotional
This was my devotional this morning as I worked through Ephesians 1 in my new blank Bible:
15For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love 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, 18having 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, 21far 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. 22And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
I was thinking about Paul’s prayer here, how he is thanking God for the Ephesian believers’ faith and for their love for other Christians. How exactly did Paul thank God for them? By asking that God add to the blessings he discussed in verses 3-14. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “how much more can God add to what he has already given us in Christ?”
Then I realized, while reading v. 17-23, that the gift of Christ is a gift that never stops giving. Just look at it! Paul wants the Ephesians — and by extension modern Christians — to be given wisdom and a deep knowledge of God himself. Not only that, Paul wants this wisdom and revelation of God to enlighten our hearts. The phrase he uses here is “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened.” (Insert “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord” music here)
Paul is wanting the Ephesians, and us, to know something very important about God not just in our heads, but deep in our hearts. What is that? Paul wants us to know:
- The hope God has given us to aspire to;
- The riches of the inheritance Christ has won for us; and
- The incredible, unfathomable power of God as it is working in our lives.
Look carefully at that list. Paul doesn’t talk at all about the first two points. Granted, he has already talked about the second one, our inheritance, in the first part of chapter 1. But then he takes a seemingly odd tangent. After talking about what Christ did for us, suddenly he talks about what God did for Christ. And then I read verse 22-23.
You see, Paul says back in v. 19 and the early part of v. 20 that the power of God directed towards believers is the same type of power that did all these things for Jesus. And since we are the body of Christ, all of those things done to Christ are seemingly a part of our inheritance. You see, verses 19-20 and 22-23 are bookends. Paul is still talking about what God is doing for us even though he is talking about Jesus. That means:
- We have been raised from the dead with Christ (as Scripture says elsewhere, of course);
- We have been seated at the right hand of God through Christ;
- We have had all claim on us from anything and anyone not of God utterly removed, that is, we are now untouchable to this world; and
- We have been restored through Christ to our original position as the head of creation.
I sat in my seat dumbstruck and massively humbled. Deep in my heart, I knew instantly that I was not a person worthy of such an elevation in status. “You mean you did all that?!?!?” I exclaimed. “You didn’t just raise me from the dead, but through your son you sat me down at your right hand; you fixed it so that you alone have any claim on me; and you restored me to the crown of creation? No! I’m not worthy! I’m a sinner! I sin! I’m a royal screw-up! I don’t deserve to sit at your right hand! I don’t deserve to have you as my only claimant! I don’t deserve to be the pinnacle of your creation!”
Then it hit me, quietly and surely: “No, you sure don’t. But my son did, and he died for you. Obey him and give me glory!”
At that moment I looked up from my prayer and saw verses 11 and 12:
11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
He chose me to give him glory. He has a purpose in choosing me. I — a mere fallen man, a Deaf man, a man with many temptations and failures — was set aside before time began to be a praise to his glory. My heart experienced enlightenment anew.
Now think of what just happened to me today in terms of yourself. If you believe in Christ, God has done all of these things to you. God has chosen you to be a praise to his glory. I don’t know how any of us could stand in the presence of such an amazing grace. Today, determine to be a praise to God and his glory, and commit to make that your attitude each and every day.