Just a quick thought:
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.” (Eph. 1:20-21 ESV)
“Far above every power” – there are no competitors for influence, or authority, for Jesus. And that works at the personal level … Not even the people who get into my head from time to time have any legitimate authority to compete with Jesus. But they are loud and insistent where Jesus is (usually!) quiet and gentle. That is one reason it is important to get (and believe) regular scripture input – to regularly hear God’s voice among the wanna-be competitors.

This text speaks to my current situation in the text’s emphasis on perspective – that is, that I need to accurately and correctly understand the world I live in.


My Place In The Cosmos

In case you haven’t noticed, humans are a rather self-centered folk. Child psychologists tell us we are born that way and only as we leave infancy do we recognize that the world does not revolve around us. Well … most of us do, even if we struggle with that notion from time to time. Some of us never do. “Narcissists,” we call them.
As we grow and mature, we become aware of others (parents, playmates, teachers), Others (groups, society, ethnicity), and begin to recognize our moral obligation towards others. We marry and begin to realize that living for ourselves is incompatible with healthy relationship. Many bear and raise children – now we must work hard to support, protect, and nourish others. Eventually, we age, recognize our time from the stage is done, and work to mentor and coach the young punks to take their developing place on the stage.
Yet, still, during all that time we are still enamored of ourselves.
That leads me to one of the beloved tenants of Evangelical Christianity – which I strongly affirm: that Jesus’ mission was to die in our place for our sins so that we might have a vibrant relationship with God.
Here’s where that tenants goes off the rails: that the ONLY reason Jesus lived was to eventually die on the cross for us. Why is that a problem? Well, this narrative completely ignores Jesus’ teaching work, his prophetic ministry, his ministry of physical and mental healing, and … wait for it … his resurrection. The basic outline of this notion is that Jesus’ death on the cross was the culmination of God’s work in creation. Everything before was preparation; everything since is working out the details.
This gets worked out in another misunderstanding in the pews: that “Getting Saved” is The Big Point. We are sinners (true!) alienated and hostile to God. We confess Jesus (yay!) and are saved from the spiritual consequences (death) of our sin (Yay! Yay!). After that, we can coast in our saved status and go to heaven where it will be nice (no, you don't get to coast).
Both of these narratives are misleading, seems to me. God has a far greater project going on than our personal salvation. Do not get me wrong: our personal salvation seems to be a big part of that project. From our self-interested perspective, the substitutionary penal atoning work of Christ is the start of my spiritual healing! My hope in Christ is not merely that I am saved, but that there is a new life for me now AND there is a New Life for me for the rest of eternity … an eternity where there is a new Heaven and a new Earth.

Consider our text for today:
“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" (Eph. 1:18-19 ESV)

“Know what the hope which he has called you …” We need to understand The Hope to which God has called us. We are part of his big project to redeem all of creation. Yes, it seems to me that we are a big part of that big project. More on that later.

So what this text reminds me of is that my personal, eternal, God-effected hope is not only good news to me but also that God’s work in my life is part of something much greater:  when Jesus brings Heaven and Earth together. That is THE Big Goal, not my personal salvation (which is true, but merely a part). The Big Goal is the cosmic rebuilding; and of which God has called me to participate – both now and then.

This gives me a sense of perspective – all that this life is - as busy and challenging as it seems now – is intended as preparation for our hope: a new life to come. This understanding is helpful because it gives a perspective to my day. My routine and practical life, here and now, has a purpose that feeds into the ultimate Purpose that God is working out.


Wisdom And Revelation

I really wish somebody would tell me what’s going on around here. The world seems crazy and chaotic – and that makes it unpredictable and usually hostile. If I could just get a grip on what is actually happening, I could plan and it would go well with me.

Seems to me that most people have that thought process. We want to understand so we can make a successful path in our lives. As much as we tend, in modern culture, to discount “rational thought,” or “information,” or “knowledge” at the same time we do actually value those things. If only because they make it easier to navigate our cell phones.
There are a lot of people who would be interested in KNOWing, in advance, the winning lottery numbers. If we received a mysterious envelope claiming that the sender wished to reveal that the following were the winning numbers, we likely pay our buck or two to play that number. We would consider the revealing of that information to have great Practical use!
Jesus gives us an important insight, at this point. Jesus, who nearly everyone agrees was a very wise man, said this: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” I affirm that statement – if only because I’ve always found it best to agree with Jesus.
Jesus is saying, as someone who is wise and understands important things, that there is something more important than money, wealth, or possessions. Seems to me that all the wisest people from many religious and philosophical traditions agree.

I came across this text:
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 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,” (Eph. 1:11-17 ESV)

There’s a LOT going on here but I will key in on just one small thing: “spirit of wisdom and revelation.” 
Paul, after making several very significant theological statements about the nature of our personal salvation, then prays for his brother and sister Jesus-followers. He is thankful to God for them for specific reasons (their faith and love) and then asks God to give them this “spirit” of wisdom and revelation. The fact of Paul’s prayer life on display here tells me this is a legitimate prayer request and Paul expects that God will grant it.
What this also tells me is that God desires to give me a spirit of wisdom (understanding life) and revelation (to know things previously unknown). Given the context of the phrase, God wants me to understand the practical nature of what he has done in Christ.

This is a place where I connect with God in my inner man. That God wants me to spiritually thrive and grow, here and now, for whatever time I have, and that available to me is a spirit of wisdom and revelation. That is a powerful grace! And recognizing it is a moment where I can rest in thanksgiving for that grace.