Knowing God, Seeing God

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
3950490520 28dddf4f9e z

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 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 1:17-19

In recent reflections, we have been focusing on Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23. After giving thanks for the recipients of his letter, he prays that they would grow in their knowledge of God and his blessings.

In the midst of this prayer, there is a curious phrase in verse 18 that can be translated into English in a variety of ways. The NIV reads, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened." The ESV prefers, "having the eyes of your hearts enlightened." The ESV is closer here, though it doesn't quite convey the sense of the perfect participle in the original Greek. A more accurate translation would read, " that you may know him better, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, in order that you might know..."

To put the matter plainly, though the NIV is right that Paul is asking God to reveal more of himself and his truth to the Ephesians, this translation misses the nuance of the phrase in question. It is not so much a request for enlightenment as it is an acknowledgement of the enlightenment that has already taken place in the lives of believers. Before we knew God through Jesus Christ, we were "darkened in [our] understanding" (4:18). In fact, once we were darkness. But "now [we] are light in the Lord" (5:8). When we first came to faith in Christ, the Spirit of God enlightened our inner being, helping us to see God more clearly than ever before.

We can rejoice over the fact that God has made himself known to us, enlightening the eyes of our heart in our conversion. But this is not the end of the story. Rather, there is still more of God to be known, infinitely more, in fact. Thus, as we consider how God has revealed himself to us, on the one hand, we are thankful for what we have already seen. On the other hand, we persistently pray for even deeper and broader knowledge of God and his grace. Today, however, we remember the gift of revelation and offer thanks for this expression of God's grace.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Can you remember times in your life when God has enlightened you? Even as you pray for deeper knowledge of God, do you thank God for how he has revealed himself to you?

PRAYER: Thank you, gracious God, for enlightening the eyes of my heart through your Spirit. Not that I see you perfectly, of course. But you have helped me to see you in part. For this I thank you. Apart from your kindness in making yourself known to me, I would not know you. Yet, how good you have been to me in helping me to know you truly and intimately.

As I recognize how you have revealed yourself to me, I surrender any pride in my knowledge. What I know, I know by your grace and through your Spirit. Thus, in humility, I thank you for the privilege of knowing you, and ask for even more grace so as to know you better. Amen.


We have just entered the Christian season of Advent. If you would like to celebrate Advent, you might find the following resources helpful:

Advent Devotional Guide from Laity Lodge Youth Camp and Laity Lodge Family Camp.

Introduction to Advent available on my blog.

Introduction to the Christian Year available on my blog.

My e-book, Discovering Advent: How to Experience the Power of Waiting on God at Christmastime, available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Images sourced via Creative Commons.