The Hope of Your Calling
Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:15-22
In 1952 Florence Chadwick attempted to swim 26 miles from the coast of California to Catalina Island. After 15 hours, a heavy fog began to block her view, she became disoriented, and she gave up. To her chagrin, Chadwick learned that she had quit just 1 mile short of her destination. Two months later Chadwick tried a second time to swim to Catalina Island from the coast. Again a thick fog settled in, but this time she reached her destination, becoming the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel. Chadwick said she kept an image of the shoreline in her mind even when she couldn’t see it.
We, as believers, are pilgrims on a journey to a place we’ve not yet seen. For now we are encouraged to persevere as we look “to the hope laid up for (us) in heaven” (Colossians 1:5). We haven’t seen that which awaits us. We can’t see it now. But we’ve a Helper in the Holy Spirit who works both to assure us and to keep us looking to our destination.
Ephesians 1:15-22 constitutes a prayer of the Apostle Paul for the believers in Ephesus. Paul had previously instructed these believers on their future hope (Ephesians 1:13-14), here he prays that they would know of their hope and the riches of his glorious inheritance. His instruction to them was needful and important, but Paul also appreciated the importance and value of prayer. So He prayed that the eyes of their hearts would be opened to see what he had previously spoken of. Put simply, Paul was praying that these believers might be filled with hope, and have their hope set firmly on their glorious future. Or, to simplify the matter further, he was in essence praying that they would be “heavenly minded” Christians!
We tend to forget or underestimate the role of the Holy Spirit in this work. And while He fulfills various roles in our lives, his chief work is to unveil to us the glory of Jesus (John 16:14). He is constantly working to manifest the presence and glory of Jesus to us, in us, and through us. He helps us to see, enlightening the eyes of our hearts, that which we otherwise cannot see. In directing our souls Christ-ward, he is in fact working, even now, to open our eyes to that which God has prepared for us. It is by the Spirit that we were born again to salvation. And it is by the Spirit we were born again to a longing for heaven. It is by the Spirit that we are enabled to set our minds on things above, and not on things that are on the earth.
In praying as he did, the Apostle Paul has set a good example for us. So many of our prayers are regarding earth-bound concerns, but we would do well to include these kinds of heaven-ward prayers. God uses prayer to change our hearts and our perspective. Recall that hope is an attitude, a way of thinking. The Spirit works through the Word to renew our minds, that our attitudes will be as they should be. Prayer is integral to this work, and is necessary if we are to keep our eyes on the prize of what awaits us in heaven!!
D. A. Carson, “In our generation, which reflects too little on the future and almost never on eternity, it is distressingly obvious that we need help, help from God, so as to be able to know the hope to which we have been called. Only then will we become more interested in living with eternity’s values constantly before our eyes. What we will have to show before the great King on the last day will be infinitely more important to us than what we leave behind here.”
By the Spirit we Behold the Glory of Jesus and the Hope Laid Up for us in Heaven
Heavenly Father. It’s all to the praise of the glory of Your grace! You’ve chosen us and adopted us as Your children. In Jesus we’ve been redeemed and forgiven, according to Your eternal plan. You’ve sealed us by the Spirit, and guaranteed to us an inheritance in heaven! May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened that we might live daily according to the hope of this high calling You’ve prepared for us! Forgive us for our propensity to set our minds on earthly fare, when you’ve prepared for us a future banquet of blessings! May we be Spirit led and empowered to eagerly anticipate that which You’ve graciously set before us! Amen.