Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lessons for a Maturing Christian

I've been reading Ephesians, and especially Ephesians 1, a lot lately. God just keeps placing it on my heart. This morning, he used verses 13 - 19 to teach me about where He wants me--vision and direction for a maturing Christian.

Ephesians 1: 13-19:

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. 15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

Paul has already described the salvation experience in verses 13 - 14 (that they trusted (believed) the word of truth, the gospel, and received the Holy Spirit). What he is describing in verses 15 - 19 is his hope, his prayer for them post-salvation. First, he prays that they have the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Since Paul has already described salvation knowledge--knowledge of the truth, the gospel of salvation (see vs. 14), he is obviously talking about a different revelation and knowledge here.

This knowledge is not just to know the truth, the gospel--but to know HIM; this is the beginning of a relationship with God.

Then Paul continues, now that your hearts have seen the truth of the gospel (your eyes being enlightened--vs. 18), I pray you'd know #1 the hope of your calling, #2 the riches of the glory of his inheritance, and #3 the exceeding greatness of power toward those who believe.


Paul's instructions for the mature (or maturing) Christian are that she would know God relationally, that she would know her purpose in life (the hope of her calling), that she would know her inheritance (in short, who she is in Christ), and that she would believe in His power that is able to work through her. I believe these four areas--first knowing, then believing--are the keys to living the fullness of life or what John Bevere calls the Extraordinary Life.

1. Know me
2. Know your calling
3. Know who you are
4. Believe in my power

This is essentially God's blue print for mature Christians. Unfortunately, most don't get past #1. Or, worse, some spirit-filled Christians just want to jump to #4 without working through one, two, or three. We cannot operate effectively with his power without first knowing him, knowing our calling, and knowing who we are in Him.
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