Seth crept into the dark room. He switched on the lamp and waved his arms back and forth above the crib. Leah didn’t notice him. She was blind.
“Hi, baby,” he whispered. She turned her tiny head toward the sound of his voice. He patted her hand through the bars.
“What are you doing in here?” asked Mom, coming in from the hallway.
“I’m trying to make Leah see me,” he said.
Mom spread a quilt on the floor. “I’m not sure she’ll ever be able to see you, Seth, but she can hear your voice and feel your touch.”
Seth sighed. “Why did God give her eyes that don’t work?”
Mom lifted Leah out of her crib and laid her on the quilt beside Seth. “We don’t always understand the ways of the Lord, but they’re always good.”
“Blind eyes aren’t good,” said Seth.
“The Bible tells a story about a man born blind like Leah,” said Mom. “People questioned Jesus about that man’s eyes, too.” Leah gripped Seth’s finger as Mom continued. “Jesus said the man was born blind so the world could see the great love and awesome power of God.” Mom stroked Leah’s cheek. “Then Jesus healed the man and he was no longer blind.”
“Is Jesus going to heal Leah?” asked Seth.
“I pray for that every day,” said Mom. “He answers when it’s time. As we wait, we can teach Leah to hear God’s voice. Then He will give her special eyes to see Him with her heart.”
“I don’t need eyes in my heart because my other eyes can see, right, Mom?”
“Everyone has heart-eyes,” said Mom. “We are all blind like Leah until we listen to God’s voice and obey Him.”
“My Sunday school teacher says the Bible is God’s voice,” said Seth.
“She’s right,” said Mom.
Seth jumped up and bolted from the room. He returned with his Bible and plopped onto the quilt. “She will like the rainbow story,” he said. Leah turned her face toward Seth as he read God’s Word.
In Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul prays for his friends to be illuminated here and now. He prays that God will give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation as they get to know God. He prays that the eyes of their hearts will be enlightened.
This passage is a glorious portrayal of the exalted Christ. The church is a continuing incarnation of Christ. Whatever Christ could do, the church must do. The church must be Christ’s hands and feet. The church must be a true representation of heaven, but at the same time the church must not claim to be equal to Him. The church is full of sin and will be under judgment. God’s plan for the world is in the church’s hands.
Prayer that flows out of a deep sense of gratitude is forceful. Our praying should be rooted in thankfulness. Thankful people are happier people because they invite loyalty and generosity. They also know how to love others. They make the world a better place. Everyone has things to be thankful for and everyone has things to be angry about. Our challenge is to focus on the things that we can be thankful for.
Paul has worked to express the wonder of believers’ spiritual endowments. Now he prays that they may be able to embrace these truths with their hearts. In order to do this, we need wisdom. When we ask God for it, He will give it to us, and then we have to practice it. In time, we will live by God’s wisdom and not the world’s wisdom.
Paul does not pray that the Ephesian believers will receive some new revelation from God but that they will understand the revelation God has already given them, especially concerning the spiritual riches that are theirs in Christ. The Holy Spirit will provide revelation. Knowing this is ours, the Spirit of Christ becomes a living presence in us. Believers must truly know Christ, not just obtain knowledge about Him. Understanding can also be translated as ‘heart,” which includes the intellect, emotions and will. The heart is the channel through which God imparts the truth about His Son. Such understanding is unavailable to the natural (nonspiritual) person.
As the revelation of the Holy Spirit grows in us, our knowledge of God expands and matures. Specifically, we learn about three distinct attributes:
- The hope to which God calls us, especially the hope of life after death.
- The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
- The exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.
God was not satisfied with possessing suns and stars; He wanted children and saints. This is God’s inheritance, not humanity’s; believers are His inheritance. There is a big difference between having God’s blessings and enjoying them. We move from the former to the latter by learning what those blessings are and then laying hold of them by faith.
In verse 19, Paul uses four different Greek words to describe God’s power; they can be translated as dynamic, energetic, mighty and strong. Thus power belongs to every believer who will use it. God’s mighty power is anchored in heaven itself, since the Lord not only raised Jesus from the dead but took Him bodily into heaven and seated Him at His right hand-a place of authority.
Christ has conquered all things in this age and in the one to come, including the enemies of all people: Satan, sin and the grave. Personally knowing this victorious Christ enables believers to face the trying circumstances, unusual sorrows, and terrible persecutions of life. Because of Christ’s great power, no sinner is beyond rescue, and no saint beyond recovery.
God’s great power is given to everyone when they accept Christ as their Saviour. When we believe in Christ, He works a miracle in us. We are purified and empowered by God Himself. As our faith grows, we will change. Sin won’t have any more power over our lives.
Paul also mentions the riches of God, the riches of Christ, the riches of grace, the riches of mercy and the riches of glory. We hear that there is no way to measure the riches of God’s grace. We hear that there is no way that we can understand or intellectually absorb God’s grace. Paul has experienced and seen the riches of God’s grace and the lavishness of His generosity. Paul is overwhelmed by it, as should we as Christians. Creation reflects the luxuriousness of God, the lavishness of God and the excessive generosity of God.
We can easily miss the gift of what’s right in front of us, especially the beauty that’s part of our everyday lives. We can easily miss the beautiful ways God works in and around us daily. Believers in Jesus can ask God’s Spirit to open our spiritual eyes so we can understand how He is at work.
We don’t know everything. We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow or next year. We need power, strength and wisdom. When we pray, we connect with not only the world’s most powerful being but the smartest being. God knows everything. All we have to do is listen and be quiet.
Godly wisdom gives us perspective, vision and a purpose for living. If we have godly wisdom, we will have balance in our lives. We will also walk by faith on the familiar roads of life and the unfamiliar ones. When we face difficult circumstances, we should focus on the blessings that God has given us instead of focusing on our problems. When we think of God’s blessings, we will have an attitude of gratitude.
If our reputations and perfection are more important than the states of our hearts and souls, we are on a slippery slope. If we constantly compare ourselves to others while focusing on what we don’t have, the devil has his way in our lives. Only Jesus will satisfy our deepest longings and desires. We must keep our eyes on the goodness, beauty, majesty and sufficiency of Christ. He is everything we will ever need.
When we go through difficult times, the eyes of our hearts will be opened. Walking through troubled waters is one way that God has of shifting our vision. When our hearts break, there is an avenue for God’s compassion to enter. We will look at others through the eyes of our hearts and not through the eyes of quick judgment, harsh conclusions or self-interest.
God wants us to have the eyes of our hearts enlightened in order to know the hope to which He has called us. Next, He wants us to know there is an inheritance of spiritual riches for each of us in Jesus. Finally, God wants us to tap into the power that is available to all of us. Satan also has power, but the only way he can use it is when we fail to operate under the power God has given us. When we function under the power of God, Satan can’t use his power.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 1639)
- “Leah’s Eyes.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dunnam, M.D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 31: Galatians/Ephesians/Philippians/Colossians/Philemon (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982; pp. 156-164)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010)
- Bobby Schuller, “The Lust of the Eyes.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Pastor David McGee, “Stop Talking and Listen.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Amy Boucher Pye, “Just the Office.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bobby Schuller, “Thankful, Happier People.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “Asking for Wisdom.” retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve Arterburn, “The Eyes of Your Heart.” Retrieved from Christianity.email@example.com
- Os Hillman, “Three Things.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Tony Evans, “All Things Under Christ.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “The Value of God’s Wisdom.” Retrieved form email@example.com
- “So That You May Know the Hope.” Retrieved from http://paintedprayerbook.com/2014/11/19/so-that-you-may-know-the-hope/
- “Books of the Bible-Ephesians.” Retrieved from www.sermonsfromseattle.com/books_ephesians_lavish.htm