The late newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, invested a fortune collecting art treasures from around the world. One day Mr. Hearst found a description of some valuable items that he felt that he must own. So, he sent out an agent to find the treasure. After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally found the treasures. Where were they? They were in Mr. Hearst’s warehouse! Hearst had been frantically searching and spending money for treasures that he already owned. Had he read his catalogue, he would have saved himself a lot of money and trouble. How often is it that we humans do much the same thing (?)…but more so with regard to spiritual realities. We look for ways to relieve stress, anxiety, worry, fear, anger, sorrow…and the answer is easily within reach…but, yet seems so far away. Sometimes, I wish life wasn’t so complicated…that the answers were always easily within reach, but they are not. We don’t always have the answers we want…in fact, we may have a lot of questions from time to time. The Lord can help us with these questions, so we pray. We have to trust in the Lord. We have to rest in Him and in His Spirit.
In communicating with the Ephesian Christians (1:15-23), Paul prays for them. He knows that they need prayer…just as we also need prayer. Sometimes, this seems like it is the only solution for us…yet, it is a good one. Paul desires that the Ephesian believers not take for granted the blessings they have in Christ. He reminds them, and us, of the elevated position that we have in Christ. The atheist claims there is no God for us to know, and the agnostic does not know if there is a God for us to know. But, Paul had met God personally in Jesus Christ, and he says that man can only truly know God…through Christ. Under the old law, willful ignorance of God led mankind to corruption and condemnation. Ignorance led to idolatry, which led to indecency and immorality. It has been this way since the fall in the Garden of Eden. Conversely, we who believe in the Lord must grow in our knowledge of God…as our Creator, Sustainer, Governor, Savior and Judge…as well as Father, Friend and Guide. The better that we know Him, the more fulfilling He will be for us.
Paul reminds Timothy that the believer has a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9). As believers, we are called out of the darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Some philosophies offer no hope…but, Paul wants believers to understand the great hope that is our because of our calling in Christ Jesus. Our hope in Christ assures us of a great future! It is not as the world says -- “hope so,” which is wishful thinking…but it is truly blessed assurance. Hope encourages us to be pure, faithful, obedient…looking ahead...so that one day, we shall be with Him. Paul wants us to trust in the Lord so that he can open the eyes of our hearts…to give us enlightenment to see the spiritual realities around us. And Paul is referring to God’s inheritance in us (not ours in Christ). It is remarkable that God sees us as part of His great wealth! This is something. One day, God will get glory from His church at Christ’s return.
According to this Good News, Paul challenges Christians’ faith to be vibrant, strong. He enlists a number of words in order to get his point across – power (dynamic), work (energy), mighty and strong. He is saying that this divine, dynamic, and eternal energy is available to us. We Christians need such power for several reasons. By nature, we are too weak to appreciate and appropriate God’s wealth; “The Spirit (indeed) is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). The enemy seeks to rob us of spiritual wealth…and we allow him to do a pretty good job at times. Yet, God’s personal power living in us…His Spirit…enables us to use His wealth. As chapter 6 indicates, we are in a spiritual war against terror, evil. We can never defeat the evil one with our power…but, only through the power of God’s Spirit and in His Word! God’s full power was seen in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ…this was His great plan. Jesus Christ is Savior, but He is also Sovereign – the ruler, authority over all…even His (and our) enemies. We must trust in this.
Paul goes on to share that because we are believers, we are in the church, Christ’s body – He is the Head. This is the significant and undeniable connection between Christ, Christians (Ephesians 4:4-5). Christ is our spiritual Head…and the head controls the body. And we are members of His body, united together in one Spirit. And this is why…it is not ever a question (at least for me) as to whether or not I am going to be with or a part of the body, whenever it assembles. If Christ is truly “the head,” then there should be no ambiguity. I am (part of) the body…now, how am I going to do (be) my part? That is truly the question. We live in a culture where it is much about what “I want”, not what “what can I do to serve” and strengthen the body. We need to get back to the purpose for our existence.
It is imperative that we live with our spiritual eyes wide open…enlightened, and our enlightenment is going to come from Jesus Christ, and His Spirit. He will illuminate our natural minds so that we can see spiritual realities. If we are willing to submit to His will, He will help us to understand the great wealth that we have in God and through His Word, through prayer and through fellowship with the saints. The Lord also gives us wisdom to understand it. When we are faced with a decision…that decision should be evident if we are in tune with God’s purposes and power. It is not a decision as to whether we fellowship…we do it! Or, to give…we do it. Or to fulfill our responsibilities…we do it! And this is not a burden, but a blessing. We must live out our enlightenment…our salvation! We have been called…not to be ordinary, but enlightened people. We must live with the eyes of our hearts opened…as special people with a special purpose, and seek to make a difference in this world.