The simple good news of Ephesians 1:17 is that God, through the Spirit, will help us know him better. God does this because he seeks relationship with us (see also Ephesians 1:5 and John 4:24). God wants you to know him better! Thus, we are encouraged to pray as Paul prayed, both for ourselves and for others. May the Lord give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know him better.
The whole Scripture bears witness to the fact that knowing God is not something you can do on your own. Rather, it depends on God. You can know God truly only if God chooses to make himself known to you. The good news of the Bible is that God has already revealed himself in profound ways: in creation, in history, in his people, in Scripture, and most of all in Jesus Christ. Moreover, God has given us his Spirit and placed us in the community of his people so that we might know God deeply, accurately, and intimately.
Yesterday, we reflected on the life of Saint Patrick and the legacy he left as a leader. Patrick was known for purposely building relationships with the pagan chiefs in order to reach entire villages, setting up hundreds of churches and monasteries as each village king allowed. Some argue that the Celtic Christian movement finds its roots in Patrick’s legacy. And one of its hallmarks was the practice of hospitality.
Though I’m no scholar of Saint Patrick, I know his legacy leaves a rich bounty of lessons to consider in our modern context that go far beyond the superficial and commercialized ways that we are far too familiar with. St. Patrick, like the Apostle Paul, had a life worthy of emulation that speaks to us today… Suffering didn’t paralyze him, selflessness guided him, and sensing God’s direction was a priority.
How easy it is for those of us who are in positions of leadership to squander our integrity at home. We appear to be people of high ethics in our workplace or public endeavors, but we may be altogether different when we’re with our family and friends or when we are alone. No matter how I live and lead in public, I ask myself what my wife and children really think of me. Do they see me as a person of integrity? Or do they know I major in hypocrisy?
Why is thanksgiving such an essential element in prayers of asking? Of course, it’s always appropriate to thank God for his many gifts. But the act of giving thanks not only acknowledges God, but also increases our faith. When we remember all that God has done for us… then we are inspired to pray more boldly. We have faith to ask God for more of his favor because we remember how generous he has been in the past with his favor.
How often do you hear “Thank you” from your colleagues at work? From your boss? From your subordinates? How often do you say “Thank you” to your colleagues?… Paul’s example in Ephesians 1:15-16 can inspire us to share our gratitude for others with them. In this passage, the Apostle Paul tells the recipients of his letter that he thanks God for them. He doesn’t just thank God. He shares his gratitude with those for whom he is thankful.
In Ephesians 1:15-16, Paul tells the recipients of the letter that he gives thanks for them, in part because of their “love for all of God’s people.” (The original language reads literally, “love for all of the saints.”) You might be tempted to read this phrase quickly and move on. But if you stop for a moment and think about it, you might wonder about loving all of God’s people. All? Really?
Biblical faith is not simply giving assent to theological claims. Rather, biblical faith is going a step further. It is not simply believing that Jesus is Savior and Lord. Rather, it is also putting your trust in Jesus to be your Savior and your Lord. When you read the word “faith” in the New Testament, you should think of it in terms of trust that includes but goes beyond belief.
This account in Numbers 11 teaches us two important lessons that are relevant to our journey as leaders executing God’s plan for us. The first of these lessons is that every vision will need to be staffed. God’s vision for you is so grand and full that you can’t do it alone… The second lesson that we glean from this passage is that God must be the one to choose the proper staff in the proper time.