Hiking Through Ephesians 2

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

One of my all-time favorite hikes traverses the Mammoth Crest in the High Sierra of California. Though it's a long hike (14 miles if you do the loop version) that requires considerable climbing (2,000 feet elevation gain), the Mammoth Crest trail offers 360-degree views of the stunning Sierra mountains, visits to several secluded alpine lakes, and lots of solitude.

Last summer, my family and I planned to do this hike together. As we were driving to the trailhead, I felt a mix of emotions. Partly, I was feeling a bit nervous about the imminent physical demands of the hike. Also, I was nervous because of the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms. You don't want to be on top of a Sierra ridge when rain is pouring and lightning is striking. But, mostly, I was thrilled because I knew that my family and I were about to see some of the most stunning scenery in the world.

As we begin our devotional study of Ephesians 2, I feel rather like I did last summer on the road to the trailhead. This chapter contains some of the most astounding truths in the world. It reveals strikingly the wealth of God's grace and mercy. It features one of the most important and influential verses in all of Christian theology. And it also includes several surprises, treasures often overlooked but absolutely worthy of our careful attention.

As we begin our hike through Ephesians 2, I would encourage you to read the whole passage. (I printed the first ten verses above. You can find the whole chapter in your Bible or by clicking this link.) As you read, see if you can get a sense for the broad themes of this passage. What speaks to you? What intrigues you? What puzzles you? What inspires you?

Tomorrow, we'll meet at the trailhead to begin one of the greatest hikes of all.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: As you read Ephesians 1:1-22, what stands out to you? What makes you wonder? What would you like to study in greater detail?

PRAYER: Gracious God, as I begin this "hike" through Ephesians 2, I'm excited by what lies ahead. Because I'm familiar with this terrain, I know that we'll be encountering some of the most amazing "scenery" in all of Scripture. We'll reflect on truths that are full of your grace. We'll see ourselves and our lives differently. So, as we begin, we ask you to teach us by your Word and through your Spirit. We invite you to touch our hearts and transform our lives. Stretch our vision, Lord. Amaze us once again by the wonder of your work, the depth of your love, the grandeur of your plan. Amen.

P.S. If you're interested, I have put up several photos of the Mammoth Crest hike on my blog.