Ephesians 1:3-18. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… 16remembering you in my prayers, 17that 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, 18having the eyes of your hearts enlightened…
Ah enlightenment. It’s something every religion seeks (Buddha) and some even claim to have a monopoly on (Jesus). In our modern age it’s something that even non-religion offers. THE Enlightenment and modernity’s offer of knowledge and reason through science alone has had a huge influence on our society today telling us to break free from dogma, from religion, from faith.
If you think about it we’re all looking for enlightenment every day too. We all want to know. To see. To be #woke. To think freely. Fox News. Facebook and Instagram. A Ken Burns documentary. Self-discovery. Rehab. (Hopefully you can see the irony here)
Enlightenment from within the self or from outside of the self…from the Light?
We seek, and the world offers, enlightenment by what we can see with our physical eyes, or by what we discern within ourselves. This goes all the way back to the Garden. Adam and Eve “saw that the fruit was good” and “it was pleasant to the eye” and “it was desirable to make them wise” and so they took from the Tree of Knowledge. They failed to see with the eyes of their heart. The eyes of faith. They failed to trust God and his word of warning that to eat that fruit would bring about their death. To grasp for enlightenment by only what we see or feel will destroy us. Why? Because there is a reality that stretches far beyond what we can see and even beyond what we feel inside. A reality of Sin and Grace. Flesh and Spirit. Life and Death. A reality of Principalities, and Powers, and Authorities (we’ll get to these someday). A reality of the heart.
And so we need the eyes of our heart enlightened.
Look again at Ephesians 1:18 above. Notice that Paul has moved from petitioning (asking) God and he is back to stating the blessings that we already have from God. Having the eyes of your heart enlightened. Having. You have it. It is yours.
(Note: In the NIV it reads “I pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened.” But this is not the best translation of the Greek. It is a participle: having. The words “I pray that” are added in the NIV).
And so Paul can pray in verses 15-17 for the knowledge of God and a spirit of wisdom and revelation confidently because we have already had our heart eyes enlightened by the Spirit of Christ through our union with Christ. He is our enlightenment. Not the news. Not social media. Not even our journey to a better self. It’s Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection.
This enlightenment isn’t in contrast to what we can see physically but it is far beyond it. We are able to see beyond what we can see with our eyes, because now we can see with our hearts. Our hearts are illuminated by Christ’s love. His life. His reality. His eternity. His truth.
The enlightenment of our hearts is what allows us to see and trust the spiritual blessings in heavenly places that have been granted to us in Christ. The heart is the seat of all desire, insight, thought and will. It is the deepest level of your being – your spirit. Before Christ your heart was darkened, deceived, and desperate for truth, any truth. You were ruled by pride and narcissism. You were controlled by Sin and the Flesh. Your desires and affections were only for yourself and not God and not others. Not really. Everything was an attempt to earn. To buy your way in. To find self-worth through self-promotion.
But not anymore. Now your heart has been changed. Your desires cleansed. Your affections re-directed. And this is the necessary first step before knowledge and wisdom and revelation. The gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and revelation from God are dangerous in the hands of one whose heart has not been enlightened.
Now you are able to see things as God sees them. Death becomes life. Temptation becomes grace. Desperation becomes satisfaction. Losing becomes winning. Last becomes first. Suffering becomes hope. Doubt becomes faith. Slave children rule the kingdom.
We no longer look for a change in our circumstances, this is earthly sight. We look for a change in our attitude through our circumstances, this is heavenly sight. Suffering is no longer an obstacle to overcome. It is an opportunity to share in the hope and faith of the Lord Jesus. People are no longer problems, they are potential. Sin is not just something to confess over and over. It is an opportunity to experience grace and resurrection power. This is the enlightenment of the heart. Our greatest desire is no longer for God’s physical blessings (#blessed) but his spiritual blessing – knowing him, loving him, trusting our union with Christ even in suffering and death.
“To live is Christ” is the enlightenment of the heart eyes. We have Christ’s sight now. His faith to see what cannot be seen. Faith to see beyond this life to the glory of the next. Faith to see within this life to the grace that is always present in Christ. Faith to see the crucified One who satisfies every longing of our hearts now and forevermore. What glorious grace. We are truly blessed.
An oldy but a goody