In September we will be starting a new series in Luke’s gospel called ‘Life in three dimensions.’
As a precursor to this series David presented a triangle illustration to remind us how as Christians we live our lives in three relational directions: ‘UP’ in relationship with God, Father, Son and Spirit; ‘IN’ in relationship with one another as the community of God’s people; ‘OUT’ in relationship with neighbours, colleagues and friends who are not yet Christians.
Beginning today with our ‘UP’ relationship with God, which impacts the other two relationships, David spoke from Ephesians 1:15-23 on how we can know God better.
What do you pray for when you pray for one another?
The Apostle Paul’s prayers are often short, powerful and complete, and here his big ask of the believers in Ephesus and beyond is that they will know God better. Since knowing God more is possible and desirable, how much better is your ‘UP’ relationship with God at present?
It is possible to backtrack on your relationship with God, as happened to the Church in Ephesus. The believers continued to work hard and persevere under hardships, yet their ‘UP’ relationship with God had drifted from what it used to be: they had forsaken their first love (Rev 2:4).
If your relationship with God is off track or not what it used to be, Paul’s prayer in verse 17 may help you re-engage with your first love; to rediscover what it means to love God with your whole self.
Last week we were reminded about God’s sovereignty, wisdom and goodness (Ephesians 1:3-14), and how his grace has been lavished on us through Jesus. In v.15 Paul affirms this when he says, “For this reason,” before going on to pray that the Ephesian believers would know God better. In doing so, he also commends them for their faith in Jesus as Lord and their love for all of God’s people.
As you reflect on your ‘UP’ relationship with God, how do you measure or quantify this: what would be evident to the people around you of your faith in Jesus and your love for other believers?
Paul’s response to these characteristics in the lives of the Ephesian believers is to thank God for them, to pray for them and to ask God to enable them to know him better (v.16-17).
This is a great exemplar for any church to emulate: thanking God for one another, remembering to pray for one another, longing for one another to know God better, so that their ‘UP’ relationship with God grows, expands and deepens.
There is nothing more important than knowing God: Father, Son and Spirit (Cf. John 17:3; Phil 3:8). God gives “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better” (v.17).
If your relationship with God is not what it was, should be or could be right now, it may be a good time to grasp this prayer and ask Him to give you a fresh awareness, a fresh filling, a fresh awakening of the Spirit, so that you might know God better.
‘We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know God’ – J I Packer
How much better do you know God now than you did before?