Tonight I was able to get back to an in-person Bible study. It was so fun! We met outside on a patio. That way we were able to sit further apart and not have to wear masks. So fun to see people and hug a bit too! Could it be that we might be starting to get back to normal living again?
This is a study of Ephesians. It is a bit unusual because it is being done by many groups at the same time all over the US and the world. The leaders are meeting on Fridays via Zoom to get help for leading it and some of us meet on Wednesdays to discuss parts of it and meet with the authors on fb live.On Wednesday night, I bumped into some people online from prior churches we have been in! Our group meets on Thursdays in person.
I will just share a portion of what we studied tonight for your encouragement.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
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 that he worked in Christ
when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named,
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:16-23 ESV
I highlighted an area I came away with as a focus I need to continue to remember. That’s what I will talk about tonight. It’s remembering that the Spirit needs to work in us to give us wisdom and reveal truth. He needs to open our blind eyes to reveal truth. So often we want to fix family and friends around us. It is so easy to think that if we just say the right thing or the clever thing or the right combination of things, then they will change in the way that is needed. But it doesn’t work that way.
We can do all the “right” things, but if GOD doesn’t open their eyes to His truth and enlighten them, all our machinations won’t be worth a thing! We want them to see the truth about the glorious inheritance that is available to them as saints of GOD, but the only One who can show that truth to them is GOD, the Holy Spirit. He tends to do it on a time table that is so different from ours.
Over the past couple weeks, I have had a few conversations with people who want to see things change…in their culture, in their family, in themselves or a combination of all the above. Often, there are concrete things we can do to bring that about. But when it comes to blind eyes being opened to truth and wisdom? Much of that change has to be done by GOD. Our cleverness isn’t going to bring it to pass.
Do we make time to pray for the change we want in the lives of those we love? Or do we complain more? I confess, I often complain rather than pray for the change I want to see GOD do.
Paul understood how important it was to pray for the people in the church of Ephesus. Do we understand the importance of praying for each other? Do we understand the importance of praying for our churches and their leadership as well as the people in them? Praying for GOD to bring about change in our hearts is very important. It is a work only He can do. I continue to be aware of it intellectually but sometimes not enough to actually put down what I’m doing to pray. The things that are happening in our country are stirring many of us to anger. But do we understand the pain and emptiness in the hearts of many people that motivates them to behave in the ways they do?
It is obvious much work is needed in order for us to love each other well. But our hearts need to change from the inside out. Only GOD can bring that work to fruition. We can’t change others or make them move in the directions we want. That is His job.
We can pray. I confess I don’t do that enough. We can reach out to unloveable people with kindness. But we do it from a heart that is full and aware of the riches of the glorious inheritance she has in Christ!