Ephesiansby Robert M. Solomon
Whom do you regularly pray for and what do you usually ask God for on their behalf? The one thing Paul keeps asking God for on behalf of his fellow Christians in Ephesus is that they “may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17). Knowledge is necessary for us to grow in discipleship and holiness, as well as in character and service. Paul has two aspects of knowledge in mind.
Firstly, this knowledge is relational. Paul prays that the believers may know God better (v. 17). We are called not only to know about God (e.g. that He acts kindly towards us), but to also experience this knowledge personally.
Many Christians have only a superficial knowledge of God, like how they know their regular bus driver or postman. We pass by such people every day, but know very little about them and their personal lives. All of us need to get to know God better by spending time with Him in reading His Word and in prayer, and by reflecting on and experiencing Him more deeply.
Secondly, this knowledge has to do with “the hope to which he has called you” and “the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (v. 18). We can understand this by referring to Paul’s praise of God (vv. 3–14).
God has chosen us, saved us, and is preparing us for something unimaginably great and noble. We are not just called from a sordid life of sin and a hopeless eternity of destruction, but we are also called to a new life, to “participate in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) and to reign with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12). Why play in a muddy, sinful little puddle, pursuing the fleeting treasures and pleasures of this world, when God is calling us to a glorious ocean of divine blessings? Knowing this truth, and the fact that God has called us to be His special inheritance (Ephesians 1:18), will give us wisdom to live faithfully.
Such knowledge comes from God’s revelation, which opens the eyes of our heart (our inner spiritual eyes) so that, through the Spirit, we can accept and grasp God’s truth as revealed in His Word. This revelation is the product of both the Spirit’s enlightenment and the careful study of (and reflection on) the Word and God’s truth. They stand together.
In what ways do you need to know God better? Make a list of things you can do over the next few weeks and months that will help you in your quest.
Why is it important to know the hope to which you have been called? How can you remind yourself of this hope amid the hustle and bustle of daily life and the lure of the materialistic marketplace?