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December 4 – When the Eyes of Our Hearts Are Opened

Movies and books turn on those major “Aha” moment when the main character realizes they need to take action to deal with a problem. Luke Skywalker’s came when, while searching for a droid he not only came upon Ben Kenobi, he was made to realize that the Empire was searching for his droids, and would stop at nothing to destroy them. When he came home to find his aunt and uncle murdered, his mind was made up: he would join the rebellion. This “aha” moment set in motion all the events that would lead to the fall of the empire, two movies later. The “aha” moment in the Harry Potter book series was when Harry discovered that he was a wizard. In both stories, there were other “aha” moments throughout the tales, but that first “aha” moment set the story and, thus, all of those others in motion.

“Aha” moments in stories are believable because we all experience them. We may not discover that we have magical blood, or be ready to join the rebellion, but we have moments that change our lives. The “aha” moment that changed my life was when someone noted that I wasn’t really a Christian. I was shocked. I went to church occasionally. I grew up in America. I couldn’t imagine anyone thinking that I wasn’t a Christian. That set me upon a path of discovery that lasted a couple of years and ended when I committed my life to Jesus, and stopped “going with the flow” as a cultural Christian. That wasn’t the end of my journey; it was, as all “aha” moments are, just the beginning. Paul recognized those “aha” moments when he wrote the Ephesians. “I pray 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 his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19a NIV)

As Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians, we see a much more positive tone than some of the other letters. He had spent a lot of time in Ephesus, so he knew the Church there very well. His prayer shows more depth than some of his other prayers. He prays for an “aha” moment so that they would know and understand the hope that God has called us to live for. One of the qualities of a Christian life is an enduring hope that can stare death in the face with peace, knowing that ultimate hope is found not in life on this world, but in walking daily with Jesus Christ – here in this world or the next. If that hope isn’t enough, there are “the riches of His glorious inheritance.” That’s not just a hope for a home, or a mansion if you must, in heave; that’s the strength for the life we live right now. That’s the ability to say, when people wonder how you’re surviving through all sorts of difficulties, “God is with me.” Finally, He empowers us for every day life. We can have the power to endure all kinds of difficulties and emerge victorious because of the power He give us.

Paul’s prayer is still important today. We all need the eyes of our heart to be enlightened, we all need to understand the hope, the inheritance, and the power of God in our lives. When we have that “aha” moment, our lives will be changed immediately. When a person who doesn’t follow Jesus recognizes and accepts the grace God gives through Him, their lives change almost immediately. While they aren’t perfect, the immediate change as they begin the long process of walking with Christ is noticeable. For those who have sought to follow Christ by trying to show Him how good they were on their own, the recognition of His grace is life changing as they stop striving to be good, and start living more Christ-like like lives as the grace of God transforms them far more than they could do on their own.


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