Hope Like No Other19th March 2018
The book of Ephesians is a letter that the Apostle Paul had written to potentially a group of churches including the Ephesians church. Even though this letter was addressed to the churches in the first century, what a great encouragement it still is to us today!
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. – Ephesians 1: 16-23
As I read Ephesians 1 over and over the past few days, Ephesians 1:16-23 stood out to me the most. It seems puzzling at first why Paul would pray for the church to know God better and to know the riches, hope and power in God even though in Ephesians 1:1-15, Paul has already written about God’s great plan – that through Jesus’ blood and redemption and forgiveness of sins, we would be adopted as children of God according to His pleasure and will. We would be able to experience all His riches and God Himself; and when the time comes, God would unite all things in heaven and on earth under the authority and dominion of Christ. It is as if Paul is asking the recipients of this letter and us today, Do you really KNOW God?
In our daily lives, we often become overwhelmed by the situations, stress and difficulties in our lives – in our work, studies and relationships. Though we know our God is full of riches and in Him we lack nothing for He is our provider, hope and strength, sometimes it just doesn’t seem to match the reality that we live in – feeling weary and burdened; helpless and defeated. But Paul, in this passage urges and prays that God would give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we can KNOW, truly KNOW our God better. And that the eyes of our hearts may be ENLIGHTENED so that we can truly KNOW the hope we have in Christ’s unfailing love, the riches of God’s blessings in store for us and the strength of our mighty God, who is capable of breaking the strongholds of sin, defeating death and resurrecting Jesus. And that all of this, all of the fullness of God, FILLS the body of Christ, which is us, the church!
When Paul wrote this letter, he was imprisoned for his faith in Christ. It seems almost absurd how Paul would be able to write such encouragements to the church despite his own circumstances. But Paul is able to proclaim loudly and confidently about God’s promises because his KNOWS he can put his hope in God, who is full of grace, stronger and sovereign over anything he has and will ever face. And this God that Paul trusts in is the same yesterday, today and forevermore, whom we can put our full trust in today, no matter what circumstances we may be facing right now.
Dear Heavenly Father, We want to thank You that Your promises never fail and that we can put our 100% trust in You. We pray that You would open the eyes of our hearts today, that You would reveal Yourself to us so that we can KNOW, experience and taste Your goodness. We know that You are stronger, bigger and more powerful than the trials we face in life and we pray that You would help us to put our hope in You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen!