More Getting Carried Away With Paul (Part 2)

Top Five Tuesday will return next week. I’m 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.