18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Going to the Mountain
A couple of years ago I went with my friend Bart Shadbolt to Baker Lake, which a is an absolutely stunning glacier-fed lake which is about 9 miles long, nestled in the mountains in the shadow of the magnificent Mount Baker. We drove out and turned into the area, where there is a place that you can rent a boat for about $40 for 4 hours. What a deal! The thing is, as you’re driving out, you are in the forest and the shadow of foothills, and you can’t see the mountain. So we asked the fellow we were renting the boat from, where is a good spot on the lake to see Mt. Baker? He chuckled and said, don’t worry, you can’t miss it. So we took the boat out, and about 20 feet from shore, we looked back, and the entire horizon was completely dominated by the white-capped majesty of Mt. Baker! WOW! What a view!
Where is God
We live a great deal of our lives driving through the forest wondering where the mountain is. We wonder if God is there, if God is upset with us, if the love of God for us is real. We wonder if we are understanding things right. We wonder if God is hearing our prayers. We wonder if this time our sin is too much for His grace. Constantly we doubt. We think that being in the center of His will is a tightrope and one little misstep will send us hurtling to our death. We live thinking His presence is an idea or a doctrine but we have trouble seeing it. We ask other people and we get irritating answers like the boat rental guy – “Don’t worry, you can’t miss it.” Well, maybe I can.
Here’s the truth. His calling, His rich inheritance, His surpassingly great power, are not in accordance with your strength or your might or your insight or your brilliance or your moral fiber or your sincerity of repentance. They are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might. Soon enough, you will push out from shore, and you will see it. You will see that His mighty presence has been there all along. You have simply lacked a bit of perspective, but that didn’t change the reality of His promises or His presence one little bit. He is there with lavish grace and resurrection power whether you perceive it or not.
Paul prays – not for the mountain to appear, but for us to see that it is already there!
Notice that Paul’s prayer isn’t that God would change His mind and have lavish grace and rich inheritance and a grand calling and great resurrection power toward us who believe. He doesn’t have to pray for that because what he is saying is that God already had all of that established towards us before He made the universe. No prayer is required to convince God to forgive us, He already lavished us with grace. Paul is praying that we would wake up and realize the truth of all this. He is praying that we would push off from shore 20 feet and look back and see the overwhelming majesty of His reality and the greatness of His love and His great promises towards us. They are already there, and they are quite real. We just need the scales to fall off of our eyes and see it.
So we can stop walking on egg shells wondering if these things are true. Your problem is not that you need to convince God to stop judging you and to start having forgiveness and kindness towards you. You have no idea how high that mountain of majestic kind powerful eternal forgiving love for you goes. You just need to open your eyes so the reality of His awesome kindness and affection for you will flood your heart. God’s affection for you is established – it is your perception that needs help.
You want some powerful sanctification? Believe God’s gospel. It is incredibly good news. You have been powerfully and unbreakably and eternally loved. You can’t kill it off. It’s resurrection love. You just need to step back and see the mountain of His grace towards you.
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24
I have always loved your writing. If I may say, this is–for me–the top of the mountain for what I have read. I felt warm inside when I read it.
To ruin the mood…if you look at the entire passage I think it informs us what being filled with the spirit is…Farley has a nice look at it if you have time to listen to it.