From “Explore the Bible” curriculum, LifeWay
Stephen V. Allen, senior pastor
Tabernacle Baptist Church, Carrollton
They say that “seeing is believing,” but not everybody or everything can see equally. When we say that we “see,” we can mean many things. You can know things by physical senses, rational comprehension, and personal experiences. The Apostle Paul speaks of yet another way of knowing – through spiritual illumination. Paul’s prayer is that you have “the eyes of your heart enlightened” so you can see the things that matter the most.
You can perceive a knowledge of God
Paul prays that the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of revelation, and a knowledge of Him enlighten the eyes of their hearts. Wisdom is a strange intuitive insight into the basic principles of life and its relationships. Wisdom shows you how to relate to the world around you and find your place.
Through this enlightenment, you can also see with the eyes of the heart the spirit “of revelation.” Ours is a revealed faith. The only thing that you know about God is that which He chooses to reveal to you. In Christ, the eyes of your heart may be enlightened to have the mysteries of creation and salvation revealed.
Such revelation leads to a “knowledge of Him.” This is a deep, personal, experiential, knowledge of Christ. It is not mere acquaintanceship; it is an enlightening experience with the Light of the World – Jesus Christ. You do not have to read a thousand books or travel an unattainable distance to know Him. As someone wise once said, “the longest journey that a person needs to take is 18 inches – that is the distance between the head and the heart.”
You can find hope in His church
Paul continues 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.” Make no mistake, Paul is speaking about the church. An influential Christian leader once said, “The Church is the hope of the world.”
People view the church in many ways. Without divine illumination, you may see nothing more than frail people bound together with all of their insecurities, egos, and failures. You can only see the true nature of the church when you see through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Despite its divine purpose, we must never forget that the collective church as a whole is a work in progress. Despite its flaws and need for redemption, God has chosen His redeemed church as the example of His glory by demonstrating what His power can do.
We have a blessed assurance of a divine inheritance as a part of the community of faith. Regardless of what happens in your life, you can have the assurance that you are God’s legacy for the ages.
You can probe the power of the Lord Jesus Christ
The last part of the prayer refers to the “immeasurable greatness of His power.” The word “immeasurable” comes from a Greek word from which we get our word “hyperbole.” Paul exhausts every word he knows to describe the power made available for you through the person of Jesus Christ.
The first word he uses in the Greek is “dynamis,” which is the same word we use for dynamite: a vibrating sense of power pressed out. Then he uses another word “eneryi” that gives the idea of power overcoming resistance. Then he uses another word describing power as “mastery,” followed by yet another word for an inherent kind of power yet to be capped.
His prayer is that you may experience this same kind of power that Jesus experienced in the resurrection. What an incredible inheritance!
Paul’s personal prayer
Why would Paul pray such a bold prayer? Because Paul knew what it was like to have the eyes of the heart illumined by the incomparable light of Christ. Travelling on his way to Damascus, a piercing brightness accompanied a booming voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” They say that when you lose one sense, then you gain enhanced perception from your other sense. For Paul, the light that pierced the eyes of his head had somehow affected the eyes of his heart.
Like Paul, you can experience the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit when the eyes of your heart are opened to the light of Christ’s glory. In this case, seeing is most definitely believing.