Have you ever perceived something to be true…like really true, but then you come face to face with that “something" and its turns out to be a false reality? I love Brussels sprouts, especially the way my wife makes them. Mustard, brown sugar, butter and baked in the oven. It’s so good!! All the Brussels sprout haters out there are probably already done with this post, but hang with me for a bit. My kids really didn’t like them either. Green vegetables might as well have a sign on them that reads “don’t eat me for fear of death.” I can’t begin to tell you of all the heated times of family fellowship that have been had around our dinner table because of the “green food” on their plates. One night by an act of God, our oldest actually tried one. The funniest thing was his face of shock when he actually liked them. The oldest giving his stamp of approval was all it took for the rest of our children to love Brussel sprouts too. The perception of hate quickly turned into one of love, and now we find Brussel sprouts in the regular rotation of family dinners.
Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus begins with a heart felt plea for his bothers and sisters to remember that through Jesus they are blessed. Paul, writing from prison continues in the second part of Chapter One with a prayer of thanksgiving. Paul loves Ephesus, so much that he would send his right hand man Timothy to help lead the new church. What is so interesting and beautiful is Paul’s simple prayer in verse 17.
Paul says this: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give you the Spirit of Wisdom and of revelation in knowledge of him.”
It’s the beginning to a beautiful prayer with a life changing promise. The spirt of wisdom and revelation knowledge are no small things. Wisdom can be roughly translated “clarity” and the root word in Greek is actually found in the word philosophy. Paul is praying that by The Spirit his brothers and sisters would receive clarity, and the ability to use their now found clarity in practical places. Paul also prays for revelation knowledge. Revelation is something realized that was previously covered up and knowledge is knowing something through first hand experience.
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in verse 17 is one of new perspective. If perspective is our point of view, we should understand two principles. One, we all have a perspective. Two, we need to be consistently checking that perspective.
Jesus spent his whole earthy ministry trying to explain to the people around him that there is a new perspective. The perception that we have may not be the truest reality in the eyes and world of Jesus. This becomes very apparent in the story of the “Rich Young Ruler.”
In Luke 18:18 we are given a glimpse of a conversation between a rich young ruler and Jesus of Nazareth. The rich young ruler poses a simple question, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers the man by asking “why do you call me good, only God alone is good.” Jesus then enters into a list of laws that all good Jewish boys would know. Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not bear false witness. All of which the young man replies “I have kept all of these since my youth.”
The young man then asks (Matthew 19) “what do I lack.” This is a dangerous question that we all should be cautious to ask. Not that we shouldn't ask it… but once we ask a question like this to Jesus, we are then responsible for following through with what he answers. Jesus responds “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” The scripture goes on to tell us that the man was saddened for he was extremely rich.
This man came with a sincere question. He identifies Jesus as someone with authority who has answers. He even presses the first response of Jesus wanting more. I have kept these commandments but there is something else? Jesus revels to this young man the heart of the issue. Instead of serving a good God, he was really serving the god of Money. “What do I lack” gives an opportunity for Jesus to shift our perspective.
The most interesting part of this story to me isn’t the conversation between the rich young ruler and Jesus, but the teaching Jesus speaks right before this conversation happens. If we back up in the scripture to verse 15, we have a scene where the disciples are rebuking people who are bringing infants to Jesus. Jesus responds “Let the Children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of heaven. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter.”
My kids are 2, 4 and 6, and it’s crazy to me how many questions are asked in a four minute car ride. What I have noticed about my children's questions, is often times they stem from what my kids observe. Instead of fully believing what they just saw, they ask their mom and dad to answer questions of clarity about the observation. They are constantly checking their perspective with the perspective of their parents.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus with the right question, but he also came with a reputation, prestige, power, and pride. When asked to have faith in Jesus he wasn’t able to get past his own self-sufficiency. Children came to Jesus powerless, defenseless, and just like my children… in need of their fathers influence.
What if I had more faith like my children? What if I consistently checked my “point of view” with the Holy Spirit. What if instead of coming with a reputation, I came to Jesus defenseless, powerless, and seeking my fathers influence?
Jesus give me your perspective today. Holy Spirit let wisdom and revelation knowledge abound, help me to have faith like a child, and show me where do I still lack.
Guest post by: Jared Boyd (@JaredoBoyd)