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 (Ephesians 1:17). To know Christ fully! To know him as we are known by him! How I pray the same 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. 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 for revealing spiritual truths necessarily. Nor was it for gaining great wisdom for the world 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.
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 and his intentions. It is a knowing of what his plans are for you and 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).
In this post-modern 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 forefathers. “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, yet 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 colored 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 worshipers, would have a wrapping that was 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).
Many Christians have built a beautiful cloak of “godliness”. Others honestly have taken the initial gift of salvation. They speak with stirring words about how Christ rescued them from the brink of death. They weep at the precious thought of being with him for eternity. They encourage others to accept this free gift of salvation with which they can enter the heavenly kingdom when they die. They have received a gift of salvation. Yet they are living with a package that has not yet been opened to the gift inside. They live their lives holding on to that gift without discovering the depth of what God has also provided deep inside.
Worship of God invokes the Spirit’s activity in our lives to help us press into his depths. Worship draws our attention from ourselves to God, enabling us to begin to see things from his perspective, encouraging us to open up to his correction and inviting us to follow his leadership in our lives. Worship helps us to be open for God’s revelation of himself to us. Living lives of worship equips us with tools to dig deeply into understanding who God is and all that he has prepared for those he loves.
Worship, ultimately, tunes our heart, our eyes, and our ears to feel, see and hear God.
And when God reveals more of himself to us we are changed to be more like him. He helps us to respond to life situations with his wisdom. He becomes more and more our focus for living.
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