"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." (Ephesians 1:18 NASB)
Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1 is well known. He asks the Father to give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation so we may come to know who he really is. The implication of this statement is that it is only possible to fully know him by revelation from above. The Father himself gives us the revelation we need, it is not something self-generated or worked out in our mind. It is a direct revelation of the Father, given to us by the Father.
That is amazing! He gives us what we need in order that we might know him.
The revelation of the Father, from the Father, leads to the eyes of our heart being opened so we may know the life to which we have been called. This new life is sonship. We were chosen before the foundation of the world and predestined to receive (or to live in) the full rights of sonship (Ephesians 1:4-5).
As we begin to know who he really is and allow him to be a Father to us we discover the journey of sonship. We discover who we really are.
Sadly, many people do not see with the eyes of their heart. They remain trapped. We see this illustrated for us in Acts 28:26-27:
GO to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; For the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them."
Hearing and seeing but not understanding because of a hardened or closed heart. When the eyes of our heart are closed we are unable to turn to him in order that we may be healed and restored.
My encouragement today, is for you to ask the Father for that spirit of wisdom and revelation to fill your heart so you can clearly see who He really is. As you do, you will be drawn into this new life of sonship where God is a Father to you.
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." (Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV)
I am often asked "what is the Father like?"
The reason I believe this question is asked so frequently is because we see God, the Father, through a series of filters and therefore we don't see him clearly. Very often we see him through the filter of our earthly parents. We project what they were like onto God and so we distort his image. Despite this, I believe there is a longing in our heart to know him.
Jesus shows us what the Father is really like. In John 17, we read that Jesus has made his Father's name known and that is much more than a simple introduction. It is the revealing of the full nature, personality and character of the Father. Everything Jesus did was a reflection of what his Father is like: he healed people because Father is a healer, he provided for people because Father is a provider, he was kind and gentle with people because that is what Father is like. To know what the Father is really like we should look at Jesus rather than look through the filters of our earthly parents.
Moses asked to see the nature and personality of God and we read the account of that in Exodus 34:6-7. What Moses saw in part we can fully see and experience. Our Father is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
Jesus is the one who reveals the Father to us and we have a promise in John 17 that he will continue to make the Father known. If we see Jesus, we see the Father.
We do not have to be satisfied with dark or fuzzy filters but we can see him clearly. He is the perfect Father and he wants to be a Father to us. As we begin to know him as Jesus knows him we enter into a completely new relationship with him. This is walking as Jesus walked.
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." (Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV)
Many of you who've heard my story, will know of the time when someone said one simple sentence to me: "Mark, you've learned to be a servant, but God wants you to be a son".
For me, that was one of those moments of deep revelation which became a heart experience of knowing who God really is. In that moment I knew he was my Father and that I was his son. It was a moment of transformation, one that continues to resonate in my heart today.
It was the beginning of a journey. A journey that I didn't fully understand for many years; in fact, it was twenty years later that I began to understand the significance of that simple sentence. It was, and still is, undoubtedly a prophetic statement. It pointed me to the consequence, or fulfilment, of what it means to be a Christian. Sonship. Even today, that sentence propels me deeper into the depth of the Father's love for me.
Too many of us are stuck in servant-hearted Christianity, which is more about what I can do for God rather than what he can do (or has already done) for me. Yes, serving can be good but we serve as sons not as servants. Jesus served, but it came from a heart of sonship.
Recently I have been asking myself what it means for us to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). For many people the answer becomes "what do I have to do?" Do I have to write a list of all the things Jesus did and then try and work my way through them? That's hard work. And it's impossible. This is what I have concluded: for us to walk as Jesus walked means to have the same heart as he had, the heart of sonship.
As we start the new year can I encourage you to look at your hearts. Are you more motivated by what you can do for him rather than resting in what he has done for you? As we live in the flow of life from Heaven into our hearts it will automatically flow through us and out of us. It will cause us to walk in his ways. It will cause us to live like Jesus.
A Father to YOU is a signpost to the heart of the Perfect Father. When we became Christians we were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Sadly, many of us fail to take up that right and instead continue to live as slaves or orphans. But our true destiny is being sons and daughters who have a permanent place in the Father's family. This blog is an encouragement to help you know who God really is and who you really are.