Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians and us, is that God would give the spirit of wisdom and knowledge is referencing two of the nine gifts of the Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12. This is not a prayer of hope in God doing something, but in our asking for and receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised as found in John chapters 15, 16, & 17. He is our Helper and the first two gifts of the Spirit as found in 1 Corinthians 12:8 are wisdom and knowledge. Without which man’s carnal thinking cannot understand the spiritual truths from God found in His Word.
Ephesians 1:17-18 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
At first Paul’s prayer for us in verse 17 appears to be a contradiction to verse 8 where he told us that God has made abound to us all wisdom and prudence. Why is Paul praying for something that has already been given? The definition of the word “spirit” is where we must draw our understanding of what Paul is praying for. There are two predominant meanings for “spirit” and a third lesser used meaning in the New Testament; “Spirit” for the Holy Spirit and “spirit” referring to our spirit, or the third part of our make up as read in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. There is a third meaning according to “Strong” which defines “spirit” as a part of our mental disposition. At my daughters school they talk of “school spirit” or “team spirit” which is actually identifying a group of students as having one similar vein of thought or purpose; “We’re here for the school” or “We’re here to win for our school”. Paul is using the mental disposition definition verse 17 as well as in Chapter 4 to bring home a specific point.
When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our born-again spirit received the whole package deal. Paul is not praying for God to give us more of what He has already given us. The Christian walk is not a walk of getting more faith, or getting more of God, or even drawing closer to God. According to Romans 12:3 God has given all of this to us in a measure of faith and we are to think soberly on this. Jesus tells us that all the faith we need fits in the size of a mustard seed. That’s probably one of the smallest seeds on earth and yet it grows into a large tree. Where Paul is encouraging us is in our meditation. He is praying that we will allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to our minds that which is already in our new born-again spirit. Our walk is one of pulling out from our new spirit the “revelation” of God so we can understand and enjoy what we already have while still here on earth. We spend way too much time and effort asking God over and over for the things He has already given us. What is He supposed to do with that? If my daughter asked me for a new bike and I give her the actual one she wants, show it to her and put it in the garage for her to use whenever she wants, what am I supposed to do if she comes to me a few days later and says “dad can I have a new bike”? I would probably look at her like a cow looking at a new gate. I’m not sure my mind would even comprehend her asking me for something I have already given her, and yet we ask God all the time for things He has already given us. Oh God please heal me, Oh God please bless my finances, Oh God please give me the wisdom to understand, Oh God!
Verse 18 is actually the answer to what Paul is praying in verse 17. We cannot see what we have with our natural eyes. Think about this; it is a whole lot easier to find and use something you already have than it is to go out and try to get something you do not have. I believe there would be a lot less frustrated Christians if they could understand this truth. Think about this; would you stand on top of a thick book so you could be taller and then look across the room in an effort to find the very book you are standing on? In the newest version of the movie “Flubber” Robin Williams asked his flying robot helper, “Where are my socks? Answer “In your shoes”, second question, “where are my shoes” second answer “on your feet”. The audience laughed and so did I, and immediately it dawned on me that Christians are no better off than the absent minded professor when we ask Him for something we already have. According to Ephesians 1:3; we have been given all spiritual blessings. That is why Paul in Romans 12:2 tells us to renew our minds.
Our prayers need to be more like “open my spiritual eyes so I can see what is already mine”, “praise you father for answering my prayer”, “thank you Jesus that by Your stripes I was healed”, “I have been given the mind of Christ”, “praise You God that You have made me the head and not the tail”.
How else can we ever know the hope of His calling? We have to learn who we are in Christ Jesus and who God truly is. This can only happen through study and meditation on the word of God. We have to let go of what we see and the natural things we understand and reach out to the call God has for us. When we answer God’s call on our lives, He does not want us to hold on to our own comfort zone of natural understanding. He wants us to step out of our natural way of seeing things and walk by faith and trust in Him. When the disciples were in the boat with the storm all around, Jesus walking up to them on the water, called Peter to step out of the boat and come to Him. When Peter first stepped out of the boat he too was on top of the water, but as soon as he looked at the natural circumstances I know his mind remembered the safety he had while still standing in the boat. Peter was use to the water, he was a fisherman and fishermen know that as long as you stay in the boat you have a better chance of getting back home than being in the water. Peter held onto his past understanding which produced doubt in what he was doing, and he sank. There are several self-help groups, like AA and NA that use the phrase “let go and let God”. They seem to have a better understanding of walking with God than a lot of Christians do. I know, I was one of them, when God was calling me into the ministry. I kept trying to make it work out where I was and continued doing the same thing I was doing, while all the time asking Him to help me get to where He wanted me to be.
Copyright The Power of Grace Ministries. All rights reserved.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Your, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming