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MORE GETTING CARRIED AWAY WITH PAUL

In 1986, I was in a dark place spiritually. I was living as a
mid-80s yuppie, feeling disconnected from any call into ministry, and
wondering at times if it wouldn’t just be easier to live without any
faith claim at all.

Yet prevenient grace intervened.

I made friends with an assistant pastor in our New Jersey town and he
wasted little time before directing me to Ephesians 1:15-23, one of
Paul’s most emphatic “carried away” sections:

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith
in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not
stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep
asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may
give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know
him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be
enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called
you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his
incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the
working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he
raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the
heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and
dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age
but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his
feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every
way.

Notice a few things:

1. According to verse 15, this is a prayer. So Paul is pacing in
his dictation room and he becomes so overcome with love for the
Ephesians that he breaks into spontaneous prayer for them.

2. In speaking of Jesus in verse 21, Paul escalates the titles of those powers still subject to
Christ: “all rule & authority”, “power and dominion,” “every title
that can be given.” As high as the human mind can conceive, Christ is
higher still.

3. But it was a phrase in verse 17 that snapped me out of my
spiritual doldrums: that God “may give you a spirit of wisdom and
revelation.” My New Jersey friend was reminding that God wasn’t
finished with me; that there are always new things to learn about the
depths of his truth and love. So I began to open Scripture anew in that
season of life, praying each time for the “spirit of wisdom and
revelation.”

I have to believe part of the reason I am serving a local church
today is because God gave abundant answer to that prayer from 1986.

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