Passage: Ephesians 1:15-23
Have you ever been told, "You just don't get it?" Ever felt that way? Ever sat through a math or English class feeling like you kind of understood what was being taught sort of, but didn't feel confident that you knew it super well? Ever felt that way about aspects of your faith? After praising God for all that he has done for believers, Paul turns to the Christian believers and prays that they will understand all that God has done for them. Why? Because apparently it's entirely possible to know what God has done for you and yet not really see how that changes your life. It's possible to take notes on a Sunday School handout describing all that God has, is, and will do for us, yet not really see how that should impact us today.
So Paul prays in this next section that God would open the eyes of the believers' hearts. He wants them to see how the precious doctrinal truths of the first fourteen verses should change the way they live in the present. Specifically, he prays that they will fully know 1) the hope to which they have been called 2) the riches of God's glorious inheritance among the saints and 3) the immeasurable greatness of his power toward those who believe.
In theology this is called "illumination" and is the job of the Holy Spirit ("Spirit of wisdom and of revelation"). God actually dwells within you, showing you and revealing to you through his Word how spectacular and breathtaking your hope and inheritance and his power really is. He opens your eyes to see the beauty you have forgotten or come to ignore. So Paul prays and asks that God's Spirit would do the work he had promised to do and open the eyes of those Paul cared about so that they could not only understand what God had done, but be changed by it.
Food for Thought
How often do you pray that God would help you to understand the truths of Scripture that you are studying? Do you ever feel your eyes light up when you "get" a passage you may have read a hundred times before?
How often do you pray for others in your life that God will help them to see and get all that he has done for them?
Why would Paul ask the Spirit to do the work that he has already promised to do?