Seeing with Your Heart's Eyes
I have been trying recently to learn to hit a golf ball, not with my arms (as I have been used to most of my golf-playing life), but with my body. It is not easy and I would not say that I have been very successful ... yet! One thing I do know, is that it will require discipline, a conviction that the change will be worth it, and a willingness to press through the sense of it feeling "odd". So much "muscle memory" has been built into a way of swinging a golf club and I am having to try to forget all that and build from a new platform. Good job that golf doesn't really have much significance when it comes to eternal matters, eh?!
When Paul prays for the Ephesians that the eyes of their hearts be enlightened, I suspect that some of the same tension is at work as these new Christians are being taught and encouraged to live and see reality a whole new way from what they have grown up with.
The prayer comes on the heels of Paul's request that the Father would "give [them] the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [they] may know him better." (Eph 1:17) The new life in Christ, lived now from the new creation of our union with Christ through the Spirit, means that we have to learn to "see" with a new heart that has been created by the loving and gracious gift of the Holy Spirit. After all our lives depending upon our 5 natural senses (sight, touch, taste, smell and sound), all of a sudden we have now been equipped with new capacity and capability that is to supersede all of these.
Even the natural eye depends upon light. When light hits the retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye), special cells called photoreceptors turn the light into electrical signals. These electrical signals travel from the retina through the optic nerve to the brain. Then the brain turns the signals into the images you see. What an amazing creation the human eye is. There are more than 2 million working parts of the human eyeball that allow it to function as efficiently as it does. I am told that new eyelashes remain on the eyelid for about five months, and the total lashes shed by a human in their lifetime averages 98 feet!
But the heart being shaped by faith in a loving heavenly Father, now depends upon a different kind of light, the light of revelation that comes to us from 3 primary sources .. the Spirit of Christ himself, the Word of God and from our fellowship together as the people of God, those called children of light (see Ephesians 5:8-10). What we "see" in the Spirit, what God chooses to reveal to us, is now to be our true reality and is to shape our hearts and therefore our minds and wills, rather than what we see "in the natural". This is faith of the heart, faith that saves us and faith that causes us to seek after God and His will.
It is also the faith that moves mountains and breaks through the gates of hell! Another way of seeing this, as is printed each week on our service bulletin, is for us to grow in Loving the Lord, Loving His Word and loving His people. As Paul reminds Timothy, the goal in all things is love (see 1 Timothy 1:5)
I look forward to our continuing journey together as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and our being born anew that we might grow into His likeness for the glory of the Father. He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
With love and prayers,