[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Paul revealed a prayer he said about the Ephesian Christians as a way of introducing the ideas he wanted to reveal. Their knowledge of his prayers was not going to have an impact upon God’s decision to act; it was purely for their benefit that he told them.
But how does it benefit them to know Paul prayed for them?
Of course, there is the idea of encouragement. Most of us would be pleased to learn that someone was going to God in prayer on our behalf. Maybe all Paul wanted to do was encourage them. Then again, what he told them the prayers were about leads me to think he had a better reason for the information.
Look at the things he prayed about in Ephesians 1:15-20. He wanted them to fully comprehend three things:
- The hope of God’s calling
- The riches of His inheritance in the saints
- The greatness of His power toward us
Paul expounded these three pieces of knowledge in his letter further revealing the nature of the “heavenly places”. Over the next few days we will be looking at these pieces.
The Hope of God’s Calling
Consider the hope of God’s calling. This “calling” comes through God’s word, as exemplified in 2 Thessalonians 2:14. “He called you by our gospel”. But let’s not get so caught up in trying to understand this calling that we miss the meaning inherent in the call.
We have an incredible hope in Christ! Two distinct categories come to mind when I think of this hope.
Our hope is heaven!
We are not promised a minor place in Heaven. As someone said, we are not going to be sweeping the floors in heaven and living in the basement. We will have an “abundant entrance” into the presence of God (2 Peter 1:11).
We have hope that we can actually make it to the end.
I liken the first category to the way a man opening a business sees a million-dollar-per-year prospect: Sure it is possible, but not likely. Most people, realistically, will never earn one million dollars in a decade, much less a year. While it is possible, it is extremely unlikely. The fault is not in the system, because the possibility does exist. The fault lies in the individual being able to accomplish it.
The same can be said of Heaven. Surely we know that God has a perfect plan for salvation, but we tend to see it like that million dollars. It’s there, but it’s extremely unlikely. This is “hope” that is more like wishful thinking.
Support that theory with Jesus’ claim that “few will find it,” and you have a “hopeless” hope.
Too many Christians walk around with this kind of hope. That’s why the second category of hope is so important! This second category is the understanding that we CAN make it! It is within our grasp. We must develop this second stage of hope if we want to make it. We are saved by this type of hope.
For we are saved in this hope… (Romans 8:24).
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast… (Hebrews 6:19).
This hope motivates. It drives us forward in the faith. Without it, you are doomed. So don’t give up hope. Develop it by learning more about this calling.
I cannot develop hope in you. That is only developed by believing. Paul taught this in Romans 15:13.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
His prayer in Romans 15 was that they would “abound” in hope. They were going to do that by having increased joy and peace in their lives. Joy and peace bring hope. That joy and peace only come “in believing”. And we only can believe in what God teaches because the Holy Spirit revealed it to us in His Word.
All of these things are working FOR us in Christ!
I pray that you will also grasp the hope we have in Christ. Let it develop by finding the peace and joy that only come through faith in God’s Word.
Question: What is your biggest hurdle for having peace or joy in life?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]