Category Archives: Ephesians 1

Ephesians 1:20-23

Scripture: from verses 22 and 23:

The Messianic Community…is His body, the full expression of Him who fills all creation.

Observation:  I’m fairly certain the Greek here is quite complicated, but I don’t feel like poking around in it (especially since the meaning relies on specific prepositions, which I’m not able to follow) so I’ll take it as written.

Believers are His body (which I knew).  As His body, we are a portrayal of Him.  According to this verse, we are the full expression – such an accurate portrayal that He doesn’t need another.  Obviously this is one of those facts vs truth things – we are still sinful, but God has declared us sinless, so in Him we are sinless.  (He has made perfect forever we who are still being made holy, according to Hebrews.)

Which is kind of insane, even aside from the sin issue, because God is huge.  Fills all creation, like it says.  Something as small as a human cannot be the full expression of God. But it says we are.

The universe is a fractal: it looks the same at every level.  The same themes and changes and principles that operate over the entire universe also operate in my life, and operate again at a cellular level.  At the same time, God made us special – we have free will and creativity and intelligence that no other being (as far as we know) has.  The Screwtape Letters describes us as amphibians – half animal and half spirit – and this, I think, is part of what he meant.  We reflect not just the universe, but the God who fills the universe.

God can be bounded in a nutshell and count Himself a king of infinite space – and the evil of this world is no more than a bad dream.  He can make us like Himself and use us to dance the dance of the universe.

Application: This is about perspective to me.  There’s nothing new under the sun, nothing He hasn’t accounted for, nothing that catches Him off-guard.  Which means that He knows me.  He knew me before the creation of the world.  I can’t screw things up for Him, and neither can anyone else.  Which means it’s going to be okay.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for making it okay.  Thank you for having a plan, for knowing the resolution of the dance and the end of the story.  Thank you for holding me close and carrying me through it.  Amen.

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Ephesians 1:16-19

Scripture: from verses 16 and 17

I keep asking…the Father of Glory to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will have full knowledge of Him.

Observation:  Sha’ul (Paul) prayed for us to understand God.  For us to have “full knowledge” of God.  Kinda like “full throttle,” I suppose – opening up a source of power that can launch us into greater and greater speeds.

It says in Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  It also says that we should seek wisdom more than riches.  (Admittedly it also points out that wisdom will lead to riches, so it’s not as if we’re sacrificing much on that account.)  I think this is why – because with divine wisdom and revelation we have full knowledge of God, and with full knowledge of God we can do anything.

Application:  Seek wisdom.  Watch for it and cling to it whenever you do find it.  Learn more about God.

Prayer: Father of Glory, give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may have full knowledge of you.  It says right here that this is a good thing to ask for, so I’m asking.  Teach me to know you, and teach me to recognize wisdom when I see it.  I want to know your truth, God, so please reveal it.  Amen.

Ephesians 1:11-15

Scripture: from verse 11

…according to the purpose of the One who effects everything in keeping with the decision of His will.

Observation:  No, that’s not a typo – this is the verb “effect,” which means to bring about or make happen.  He makes stuff happen.  Not just the abstract “stuff” that we all make happen, but the actual, literal stuff that our universe consists of.  Matter.  Energy.  Love.

The laws of physics state that matter and energy cannot be created and cannot be destroyed.  (They can be turned into each other, but that’s a different story.)  The laws of human nature seem to imply that disinterested love is impossible.  Life should be more or less impossible, for that matter.  All the things that should be limited and impossible, He does.  Because He decided to.

Application:  …um.  I did tell you I was bad at applications, didn’t I?

Prayer:  Lord, I praise you for being before the before.  Thank you for making me.  Thank you for making the impossible happen.  Thank you for giving me the power to do the impossible also.  Amen.

Ephesians 1:6-10

Scripture: verse 6

So that we would bring Him praise commensurate with the glory of the grace He gave us through the Beloved One.

Observation: “He” is Adonai at the moment – God the Father.  Looking at other translations confirms that this isn’t about us praising God, but about us being the praise – we are the trophy or reward God gets because of the glory of His grace.

Which is kinda weird.  I’m not really accustomed to being a trophy.  But a trophy is something that one works for, and something that one treasures.  He is honored by the fact that I am His daughter, not by any effort I might make to honor Him.

Sometimes I joke that I’m a “kept woman,” because Hero is the one with a job and tends to do a lot of the projects at home – calling home repair people (I’m kinda phone-phobic) and bookkeeping and so on.  And sometimes it’s a guilt-joke, meant to cover the fact that I’m feeling guilty about the state of the house.  But most of the time it’s a happy joke, because I know that Hero loves me and loves taking care of me, whether the dishes are washed or not.  And God is the same way only more so: He loves me and He loves doing all the work for me, because I am His daughter.  And I honor Him when I let Him do the work.

Application: I honor God when I let God do the work.  I don’t honor Him when I try to be perfect and holy on my own power.  (Mostly I get cranky.)  I don’t honor Him when I stress over the things I get wrong.  I don’t honor Him when I feel guilty.  I honor Him when I rest on His grace.  I honor Him when I love Him.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the Beloved One and the grace you’ve provided.  Teach me to honor you, to stay safe in your love and not worry about anything.

Ephesians 1:1-5

Scripture: verse 4

He chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in His presence.

Observation:  The creation of the universe was an awfully long time ago.  Of course, God is outside time, so I suppose that doesn’t seem like a big deal to Him.  But it’s a big deal to us.  To know that we were always chosen.  That He knew He wanted us to be with Him as soon as He thought of us.  To know that there has never been doubt or change in His plans for us.  To know that He was planning to bless me, knowing every mistake I would make, before I made any of them.  I can’t scare Him away.  He loves me.

I’ve been reading a lot of Pride and Prejudice fanfiction lately (don’t judge!), as well as writing some of my own.  And this is the crux of the plot in every iteration of that story, as it is in so many others – that the woman believes that her mistakes, her pride, her words, her family, her junk, whatever form that takes, have offended the man so deeply that his love has died and he no longer cares about her.  (Sometimes it’s the other way around, of course, but with P&P at least it’s usually the woman.)  And the miracle is that that’s not true, that true love can take whatever beating life deals out.

God chooses to love us like that.  He looks at our junk – and there’s a lot of junk – and he decides that he loves us too much to let the junk matter.  So, just as Mr. Darcy chooses to cover Elizabeth’s lack of fortune with his own, God covers our junk with his perfection.  No questions asked.

Application: This is about confidence.  About boldly approaching the throne of grace (Hebrews 4).  About not hiding our flaws from God, because He’s already covered them.  About not worrying about bothering Him with our issues, because He’s already chosen to be involved.

Prayer:  Father, teach me to trust you with my heart.  Teach me to know you’ve already chosen me.  Help me to be confident in Your love and not fear exposure.  Amen.