In the beginning of this passage, we can see that Paul heard a good report concerning the Ephesians, their faith in the Lord Yeshua, and the love that the Ephesian believers shared for one another. This is something that was especially encouraging to Paul and something that brought joy to the Lord’s heart. Paul says in verse 16 that he does not cease to give thanks for them, keeping them in his prayers. This is something that Paul also says about the Philippians. Just as is written in Psalm 133:1, “How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together.” In verses 17–20, we get a glimpse into Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians and 3 things that he sees as important for the Ephesian congregation to grasp:
- A spirit of wisdom and revelation — We receive this spirit from God. It is something that we pray to God for more of. We don’t pray for the wisdom of this world but rather the wisdom of the Spirit. This kind of wisdom comes only of God.
- The knowledge of God — The knowledge of God. Truly knowing God is about so much more than just showing up to a congregation of believers each week. Truly knowing God requires listening to Him. God desires that we would know Him in a personal way. Only then can our thinking truly change and be renewed so that we see our eternal reward rather than setting our eyes on the things of this world. When you understand your inheritance in God and the hope that we have, you can truly begin to understand what God is doing in the world today.
- The opening of their spiritual eyes — When our spiritual eyes are open, we understand the power of God which is found in each and every one of us. “What is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19). Yeshua tells his disciples that he would not leave Jerusalem until they receive this power from God as a witness to Him (Acts 1). The thing that united Yeshua’s disciples in spite of their differences was the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps believers to rally together with one heart and with the power of God to walk out our faith as one united body of Messiah.
In verse 21, Paul points out that everything is under God’s control. He has authority over everything. We are to do all things in love (1 Corinthians 13). If there is no love in us, nothing that we do is of any worth. Even though people sometimes frustrate us, the love of God is what must guide us in this world (not our frustrations or disappointments or shame).
As believers, we must live and walk according to the faith both with other believers and in our relationship with God. God desires that we would know Him, our inheritance in Him, and the hope that we have thanks to His power at work in our lives. The Lord was and still is in control of all things and we must live as He has instructed us.