Summary: Why do we find it so hard to focus on our spiritual blessings in Christ? Why do the things of this world seem so much more attractive than the things of the next? It is because we can see the things of this world. That's why Paul prays for us to have a
When I was a young adult, about 20 years, I was part of a youth/young adults group at the church I was going to. One day one of our youth leaders had a bright idea. We would all climb Mt Beerwah, in the Glasshouse Mountains. He told us the sunrise from the top was spectacular, so we needed to climb up in the early hours of the morning, before it got light. Then wed get there in time for the sunrise, and wed climb back down in daylight. So we set off very early in the morning for Mt Beerwah and started climbing.
Now I dont know how many of you have climbed Mt Beerway, but I suppose some of you have and most of us would know it is not a gently undulating mountain. It is, well, more vertical than horizontal! It is 555 metres high (1820 on the old scale) so it is a decent height, at least for this part of the world.
But we were climbing at night. That meant we couldnt see how high we were as we were climbing. All I could see as I climbed was the few metres in front of me that my torch illuminated. As far as I was concerned, all that mattered to me was the few metres of track or at times rock face that I could see in front of me.
It was only when we came down during the daylight that we realised what was there as we had been climbing up. I still remember going down the same path I had come up during the night and getting vertigo from the sudden drop to the side of the path! The view was amazing but that drop was amazing too! But during the night, although the view was there, the drop was there, I didnt see it. Because I didnt see it, I didnt know it was there. And because I didnt know it was there, I didnt get vertigo. And I realised why the youth leader had got us to climb it at night. There is no way I would have climbed that thing if I had been able to see the drop next to the path!
Coming down we had a realisation of what was really there. We saw what at night was unseen. During the night, only the track straight in front was visible. But that track was only a tiny part of the picture. The bigger picture - though unseen - was there.
Our Christian life is often like that. Over the last few weeks we have talked about our inheritance in Christ. We have talked about our spiritual blessings. We have talked about how wonderful they are. But we dont always see them. We dont always realise they are there. Or we know they are there mentally. When I climbed Mt Beerwah I knew it was a mountain. Id seen it before, even flown over it. But when I was climbing up it, because I couldnt see that, those facts didnt mean much to me at the time. So too, it is often like this in our Christian life.
We just look at the track in front of us. That is, our lives here, the trials, the steep bits, the rocks along the road. We look at the problems money problems, job security, relationships, bad health etc. We look to things we strive for money, house, job satisfaction, getting ahead in life. But this is just the track in front of us, all we can see in the darkness.
In our real lives it is like climbing Mt Beerwah in the dark. It is not yet daytime so it is hard to see around us, to see spiritual reality. To see our spiritual blessings, our inheritance in Christ. We know they are there, but they dont seem as real or as relevant as the track in front of us, which we can see.
But one day, the sun will come up, and we will see the whole picture. But until then, what do we do? How do we keep our eyes focused on the spiritual realities? On our inheritance of spiritual blessings, that are better, greater, than the track in front?
We know they are there, but because we cant see them, they dont seem as real or as relevant as our earthly cares and desires.
The only way is through a revelation. An enlightenment.
In Ephesians 1.3-14, Paul told us our spiritual blessings. We know that in our heads. But now in verses 15-23 Paul prays. He prays we may have a revelation of those spiritual blessings. So we dont just know it in our heads, but that we see it, we realise it.
Lets read the passage, looking at that prayer and the words revelation and enlightenment.