For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 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.
What’s on your prayer list? I bet it includes healings, blessings, for God to change things in this life. But when Paul prays for the Ephesian Jesus followers, his prayer is altogether different.
Paul prays to the God of “the glory”. This is the one and only one to whom glory belongs. He’s not distracted by anyone or anything else. He goes right to the creator and sustainer of the universe. And he doesn’t pray for any sick people, or anyone who’s depressed, or needs money for food. Not that these are not worthy to bring to God, but this first prayer is something more vital.
He wants them to have the Spirit of both wisdom and revelation. Wisdom is his general knowledge while revelation is special, specific insights into him, his character, his nature.
Yes, this includes God’s Holy Spirit who is the one true source of godly insight and understanding. But it doesn’t stop there. God wants that wisdom to penetrate and invade our thinking, our human wisdom. He wants his person and the way he made the universe to guide the way we think.
Paul prays that God might work mightily in their lives. But not just for them to soak up wisdom and revelation. But why? For what reason? Why should God go to all the trouble of sending his Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and revelation? He gives us the answer.
His goal is that we may know him better. This knowledge of God is not some made-up guesswork about who God is. It’s not based on our ideas or fantasies about how we want him to be.
When God shows himself, he fully discloses who he is. He gives us a true picture. He doesn’t hold anything back. He shows us himself in all his glory and majesty.
Is it any wonder that we don’t agree with some of it? If God was something that we made up, then we’d understand him. He would be limited by who we are. Limited by our intellect. Our imagination.
Another thing is that if we created God, made him up, then we’d be able to control him. Since he was our invention, we could put on the breaks when he gets out of control. We could put speed limits on how fast he moved.
God wants his wisdom and revelation to energize and change us internally and externally. God wants to change our minds, wills, and emotions. But it doesn’t stop there. That must, must, must lead to changed actions and words.
When Jesus died for sin, it was first and foremost to restore us to God. Our brokenness and separation were the top priority in all the universe. There was nothing more important. This was Job-One. But there was a Job-Two.
Our forgiveness and restoration were to lead to something. And that something was a changed life. When God the Holy Spirit was given, he wants to completely renovate us from the inside-out.
When we try to renovate our life, it’s from the outside-in. But the junkyard of history is full to overflowing with failed outside-in theories. Communism, self-help promoters, gurus from the east, mystics, all have one thing in common. Do you know what that is?
It’s all dependent on you. You have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You have to screw up your courage. You have to make all the change. You have to find it within yourself.
This is the difference, and genius, of Christianity. Instead of us having to do it all, God says that we can’t, so he did. He lived the life we couldn’t live. He paid the debt we couldn’t pay. We were powerless to change, so he comes down and gives us his power.
I know that this goes against our American sense of self-reliance. Our “We Got This” approach to life. But, when we get quiet and think about it honestly, we come to the conclusion that we really can’t take care of our brokenness ourselves.
When we come to the conclusion that we are truly lost, that’s exactly the time when he comes and says that we can be found.
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
It’s time to celebrate the believable privilege and experience of knowing him
What are you doing to let God invade your daily thinking and actions?
What kind of self-help things have you tried to improve yourself before God?
How can you better celebrate God’s goodness to you?