Father, please reveal to me what You want me to learn today. Please keep me attentive to Your Word by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Name of Jesus. Amen Ephesians 1: 17-20
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.
Ephesians is such an encouraging book. Paul spends considerable time at the beginning of the book encouraging believers. He describes the many “benefits” of salvation and the grace through which it is received.
In this passage he lists three things that are ours through Christ’s sacrifice: hope, a glorious inheritance and power.
On Sunday we sang a song that said “there is hope in the power of the cross.” I remember singing that line and wondering what that meant. Why does the cross inspire hope? I guess there are many reasons…the cross symbolizes forgiveness, a path to eternal life, a reminder that we are loved to the extent that someone literally died for us…probably several more at least.
Is that what the songwriter meant?
At different times in my life I’ve probably drawn encouragement from each of those truths. But today, what calms me most is that amidst a chaotic and turbulent world, the cross…in it’s regal stability…reminds me that there is purpose, there is reason, there is order. Even when it isn’t obvious…there is something mighty, something wise, something eternal…rising above the fray around me. For whatever reason, that knowledge helps me relax.
Pastor Delton read a quote later on in the sermon that included the phrase, “All practical Christian living flows from…identity in Christ.”
It’s easy for me to become overwhelmed by my circumstances. There’s just too much I can’t control. And when I think about all of the things that I can’t control, I just become even more overwhelmed. It’s in those moments that I need to be reminded of “the hope to which I’ve been called.” My job isn’t to control the uncontrollable…it’s to remember that I was worth dying for, I’m forgiven from all of my past and future mistakes and that no matter how badly I crash and burn...those two things will never change.
It’s weird how focusing on those things not only changes my perspective but reorients my direction. I don’t always find magical answers to all of my problems but I do feel compelled to love others.
I picture Paul in his prison cell, facing his own execution, writing this letter. It seems like he’d have been fairly stressed. But, in spite of his circumstances, and the chaos around him, he pours out love and encouragement on these young believers.
Peaceful and loving. Seems like the right way to be.