A Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation
Discovering all that God has given us
Paul prayed that God would give the Ephesians a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they would know
Christ fully. To know Christ fully! To know him as we are known by him! How I pray for the same full knowledge of Christ for today’s church!
If Paul was anything, he was passionate in his relationship with Jesus. His desire was that all would come to know this Messiah – this Saviour. His prayer for the churches he planted along his journeys hinted at a desire that they would outstrip him in their passionate pursuit of knowing Jesus. And his prayer called upon the heavenly Father to grant a gift to his church – a gift of wisdom and revelation.
But this request wasn’t necessarily for revealing spiritual truths. Nor was it for gaining great wisdom for people to stand and marvel at. Paul’s desire was that God would present his church with a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they would know their Lord Jesus Christ – their Saviour
– to the fullest.
Jesus had said earlier that when he left the world he would send a Comforter who would lead his church into all truth and would help them to understand everything that Christ taught (John 14:15-17). And at Pentecost he sent his Holy Spirit upon his people.
The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see Christ in places where we might otherwise miss his presence. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see God’s presence and activity in nature, friends, strangers and many, many unexpected places – if we are willing to listen and observe.
As we pray along with Paul for a desire of a spirit of wisdom and revelation, the Holy Spirit begins to activate our senses and our desires, propelling us into that direction of discovering and knowing God fully.
To ‘know God fully’ is much more than just gathering information about him. It is a knowing of his person, his passion and his presence within the context of relationship. It is a knowing of his desires, his intentions. It is a knowing of what his plans are – for us – for others. Knowing Christ helps us to worship and serve him with clarity, understanding who he is and who he is calling us to be (“for we shall be like him” – 1 John 3:2).
If you fully know Christ, then you will know his deepest desires and intentions. Something like marriage. I thought I knew my wife Gayle when I married her. Wow! Was I surprised! Although I knew part of who she was, as our relationship grew over the years I began to realize what a complex and profound person she is. As we learned to understand one another and listen to each other, I began to know her more fully, understanding the depth of her character.
In a good marriage, as you come to more fully know each other, you attempt to please each other based upon what you know of your spouse. The ideal of a marriage relationship is to relate to each other at the deepest level – truly knowing one another. Partners open up to know each other’s heart, desires, longings and aspirations. The relationship grows and matures as they begin to have full knowledge of each other.
Our human marriages are imperfect examples of ‘knowing’ as God uses it. Yet marriage, as one of our most intimate human relationships, is a good model of the process of knowing God. Just like the effort we make to get to know our spouse, we need to make a deliberate effort to seek God and mature in our relationship with him as well.
In this postmodern world, we are at the best place for truly understanding what it means to ‘know’ God. Our confusion about living our life fully knowing God, has been perpetuated by a lingering penchant for scientific knowledge left over from our modernist forebearers. ‘Knowing’ isn’t an accumulated list of data or information. It’s much deeper than that. It’s understanding that there is knowledge beyond science and that no knowledge is pure within itself. It’s understanding that knowing God cannot be neatly compartmentalized in a segment of our person, but it invades every part of us.
God promises to reveal the truth to us if we seek him faithfully. James 1:5 prompts us to ask for wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Our desire should be for an ever-expanding understanding of the depths to which Christ has called us. He promises that the Holy Spirit will guide us into those depths. Paul reminds the Corinthians that “ . . . we did not receive the spirit of the world, but we received the Spirit that is from God so that we can know all that God has given us” (1 Corinthians 2:12 – emphasis added).
My wife Gayle loves to give Christmas gifts. She loves to wrap them in wonderful splashes of coloured paper, ribbons and bows. To be honest, they are often works of art that are gifts in and of themselves. But the wrapping is only a sample of what is yet to come. The wrapping, though beautiful, is only the ‘teaser’ for what awaits to be discovered within.
How I pray that each of us, as worshippers, would have a wrapping that is only a teaser of the beauty that is within us! Yet, too often, it’s just the opposite. The beautiful package is all there is. Some of us are like the Sardis church. Listen to Jesus’ message: “I know what you are doing; I know that you have the reputation of being alive, even though you are dead” (Revelation 3:1).
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