It’s sad, but often I read God’s Word more out of duty than desire. I lay down my Bible and think, “What did I just read?” I relish the times when my heart craves wholesome spiritual food as much as my body craves sweet or salty junk food.
This week, as I checked out the verses Renee Swopes suggests in Chapter 4 of A Confident Heart, my heart hungered for God’s promises in these words:
“I praythat the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know thehope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in Hisholy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same mighty strength…” Ephesians 1:18–19
“Enlighten” means to “to remove the dimness or blindness (usually figurative) from one’s eyes or heart.” I ache for the blind eyes of my heart to truly open to the promises God sets in front of me and to soak them up like a sponge.
What are the promises He offers here? There are at least three of them. God wants us to know:
- “The hope to which He has called you…” If I could grasp the HOPE God promises, I could face anything. But wait… He not only wants me to know it, but He personally calls me to it. He wouldn’t call me to it if He didn’t want me to claim it, right? He longs for us to believe and to receive this hope. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
- “The riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people…” Holy people? I’m so unholy and unclean… But wait, my doubting heart, don’t you remember you are holy through Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice? Through Him, you do have the right to lay claim to the riches of His glorious inheritance. Amazing!
- “His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same mighty strength…” This one stumps me the most in life. Why don’t I trust more in His power? Is it because of all the trust issues I still carry around like a ball and chain? How could I not trust God’s power? I know with my mind He has power, but I don’t always believe in my heart that He will use that power towards me.
If we read further in Ephesians, verse 20 continues on about that same mighty strength “He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms…” Now that’s power! Can’t that same God Who removed the stone from the grave and brought Jesus back to life deposit my doubts into the trash bin of forgetfulness? Yes, I believe He can. He can remove the blindness from the eyes of my heart to truly see, truly believe, and truly receive His hope, His inheritance, and His power.
So what still holds me back? Perhaps it’s His willingness I doubt. Why would He exert that power for me? Then I call to mind the leper who came to Jesus. (Luke 5) Jesus didn’t run away with disgust and abhorrence. He waited and listened. When the leper fell down with his face to the ground and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean,” Jesus replied, “I am willing. Be clean!” And do you know what? Jesus touched the leper who everyone else shunned. Will He not also be willing to touch each one of us, no matter who we are or where we came from?
Jesus was willing to take upon Himself our sins and pay the price for us, He was willing to touch and heal the leper, and He is willing to give us hope, riches, and power in Him.