For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having 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, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far 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. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23, ESV.
Whenever I have an opportunity to teach about how to read and study the Bible, I try to make a big deal of the fact that Bible reading requires reading. And reading requires an understanding of how words make up phrases and clauses that fit into sentences that make up paragraphs. Paragraphs contain basic units of thought. That is why we should always interpret a Bible verse in light of its place in a paragraph. Paul sometimes complicates my point. The first eight verse of our passage today is only one sentence!
Paul’s writing style aside, there is a beautiful example presented in this passage. As Paul speaks of his unceasing prayer for the churches, he really cannot take his eyes off Jesus. Everything he says about the church and all he is asking God to do for them is based on who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, and what Jesus is doing. In fact, by the time Paul is halfway through his prayer for the church, he has slipped entirely into a announcement of the glories of Jesus Christ.
Friends, until we are able to see ourselves as Paul sees the church, a people who find our identity in Christ, we will never be any good at being the church. As long as the first thing to come to mind when we think of the church is a budget, a calendar, a program, a building, a conference, a concert, a favorite teacher or preacher, or who we like or don’t like to hang out with, we will be little different than any worldly organization. Only as we become utterly infatuated with who Jesus is and who we are in Christ will we learn what it is to have “the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having 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, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.”
I pray that you will take some time today to read of Jesus in the Word and ask God to open your eyes to His glory and beauty. May you fall deeply in love with Jesus today.