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Devotionals

“God is light; In him there is no darkness...”  [1 John 1:5]

Devotional No 36 - Developing Discipleship

Simon Dunn

1 Feb 2022

Developing Discipleship - “ so that , with the eyes of your heart enlightened , you may know what is the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18 NRSV )


Sight is a wonderful thing. We can look, observe, wonder at and appreciate God’s creation, but this natural seeing is not decisive in seeing the glory of God. “Seeing they do not see”, Jesus said (Matthew 13:13). So something more than the use of the natural eyes and ears and brains must happen. The way that Paul puts it is that you must have “the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know.” This too is strange - the heart has eyes! This inner person, who is the real us, sees and knows things that are not identical with what the eyes of the body can see. There is a spiritual seeing through and beyond natural seeing. The reason that we do not see the glory of God is that our hearts may be hardened. “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart” (Ephesians 4:18). This hardness is a deep aversion to God. Jesus said that the “light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light.” (John 3:19) We need the truth and the word of God to infiltrate our hearts so that we may ‘see’ the glory of God , to take that step of faith, believe first and then see , not the other way round. When I first became a Christian, it was only after accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, that step of faith, that my eyes were opened. It was like putting on a pair of glasses, the bible, words of scripture and hymns took on a new meaning and I needed to pray and worship with others. God’s spirit opens the eyes of our heart and what was once boring or absurd or foolish becomes self-evidently real - a true miracle! This passage in Ephesians is a prayer that Paul shared with the church. It is a prayer that shows Paul’s deep love and concern for the spiritual growth and wellbeing of the church. In verse 17 Paul prays that the Ephesians would know God better. This prayer draws us deeper into a closeness and knowledge of who God is and what he has done for us. The more we know of God, the more we trust and believe in him. In v18 the passage tells us that we can pray to know the hope and riches of God’s glorious inheritance. What is our inheritance ? It is the promise of salvation and eternity with God, as God’s adopted children we are co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16) . Lastly, we can pray to know God’s power (v19) . It was this power that raised Jesus from the dead and placed him at the right hand of God and this is amazing - that this same resurrection power also gives us new life, hearts that love God and life in all its fullness. Let us pray and reflect

In these few verses, Paul shows us that our prayers can be more than just a list of needs. We need to see the glory of God, to know God better, to realise the hope and promise of salvation, to know his power in our lives and to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. We pray that God will help us understand more and more about who he is and what he has done. Father God as we draw close to you, we know that you draw close to us. Open the eyes of our hearts, we want to see you and know you more deeply. Open the eyes of our hearts to see others need, to have compassion and love for our fellow human beings. Open the eyes of our hearts that through the power of your Holy Spirit we may love you and serve you. To see you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.

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