Knowing God; April 30, 2019

Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

I could easily write on anything from here through the end of the chapter, but since it’s basically all one sentence in Greek, sentence divisions in either English or Japanese don’t line up with verse numbers! The truths of God are all marvelously interconnected, which is why we indeed need “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” to get it all straight. That’s one of the issues with finite, imperfect man relating to infinite, perfectly holy God. Life in Christ is a constant series of discoveries. That’s one way it is analogous to marriage, except in marriage the discoveries aren’t always good! That’s why one of the great anticipations we can have of heaven is that “I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) It was precisely because Paul was a very intelligent person, the equivalent of a PhD or more today, that he recognized the limits of merely human understanding. He knew from his own experience that human intellect alone can’t get to God; it takes God’s revelation for us to grasp Him. We are all born with a basic ability to sense, receive, and in a way grasp the love of God, but the world and the devil quickly act to blunt and distort that. One factor is that our imperfect human fathers often do a poor job of expressing Father God to us. That’s why so many people today carry what has been called a “father wound,” needing but lacking an assurance of the Father’s unconditional love. That would can come from simple absence, with so many homes not having a father present, or from lack of discipline, since discipline is an essential expression of love, (Hebrews 12:7-11) or from inappropriate, capricious or even sadistic discipline. Any or all of those can blind us to God’s love, and in such cases special revelation is called for. Thankfully, God can and does provide that. There are countless testimonies of people who have discovered the love of God when they had no reason to believe a father could ever love them. I think that’s what Paul is talking about here. The Holy Spirit will always lead us to Jesus and to the Father, if we will open our hearts to Him.

I was incredibly blessed with a father who loved God and sought to express Him in every area of his life, but he was no more perfect than I am. However, he did a good enough job that most of the revelations I have had of God have been along the lines of, yeah, I knew that, but now I really know that. Even so, I know I always have more to learn, and I also know I have things I need to unlearn, because they aren’t actually true. Ever since I first read it I have loved C. S. Lewis’ statement that one thing we can be sure of about heaven is that we will all discover we were wrong somewhere. That’s why I need to operate in humility at all times, indeed asking for “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” so that my mind and heart can grow to grasp more of God. As a pastor and teacher I am always seeking to lead others into a deeper knowledge of God, but I must never think that my own knowledge is perfect or even complete. However, I must also not hold back from sharing what I do know, asking the Holy Spirit to make any necessary corrections as it is imparted to others.

Father, thank You indeed for revealing Yourself to Your children. May we all be hungry to know You more and more, opening ourselves up to Your Spirit to be used by You for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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