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24th January 2016
After his great outburst of praise, Paul prays for the Christians to whom he’s writing (Ephesians 1:15-23). He prays for their growth in God, and he shows us that Christian growth is like baking a cake: you need both the ingredients and the cooking process.
Paul starts his prayer by thanking God for his readers. Paul is always quick to thank God for Christians, because he knows that their response to Jesus and every bit of growth in maturity, even the smallest bits, are all evidence of God’s work. There’s a big challenge here: are we quick to recognise what God has done and to express our thanks to him?
The prayer continues with a request. Paul asks 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” (v.17). He’s asking that the Holy Spirit would come and bring revelation to the hearts of his readers, that he would take truth they know in their heads and make it truth they know in their hearts. He’s asking for knowledge that makes a difference.
He asks that the Holy Spirit would do a work of revelation. Revelation is about uncovering. To reveal something is to remove the cover so that it can be perceived clearly. Sometimes it comes in a moment, when ‘the penny finally drops’, at other times it happens over a longer period. However it happens, we all need to ask the Holy Spirit to do it in our lives.
Do you recognise your need for Holy Spirit revelation? Is it something you regularly pray for? It seems that such prayers were an important part in Paul’s prayer life (see Eph. 3:14-19; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9).
But then Paul goes on to explain what he wants the Holy Spirit to reveal. And much of Ephesians is an attempt to explain truths about God. But why does Paul do this is he’s asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth? It’s because he knows that Christian growth is like baking a cake – you need both the ingredients and the cooking process. If we’re going to grow as Christians, we need both truth – which we put into ourselves through reading and meditating upon the Bible – and revelation – which comes through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul asks the Holy Spirit to reveal three things: (1) Our hope: the certain promise of an eternity with God in a perfect new creation; (2) That we are part of his inheritance, meaning we have value and a high calling (see Eph. 3:10), and (3) his immeasurably great power towards us, the power he won through Jesus’ victory.
Paul is giving us some ingredients to put together, to think upon and try to understand so we can then ask the Holy Spirit to come and do His work of revelation to move them from our head to our heart. If you want to grow in God this year, learn from Paul: feed on the truth found in the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to bring revelation to your heart. Bring together the ingredients and the cooking.
Posted by Andrew Bunt