“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, 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.” Eph. 1:18 (NIV)
As physicians, when we hear the word “heart” we think of a 4-chambered muscle pumping regularly in our chests. But Scripture uses the word heart in an entirely different fashion. Scripturally speaking, the heart is the seat of understanding. An example is Mark 6:52 where the writer states that the reason the disciples did not fully understand the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 was that their hearts (kardia) were hardened.
Lack of understanding reminds me of the story of the person who took their car into the shop because it was making a “clunking” sound every time they went around a corner…only to find that the cause was a loose bowling ball in the trunk.
Understanding spiritual concepts requires that we allow them to penetrate our “hearts”. Another way of putting it is that for us to fully understand spiritual concepts, we must move beyond an intellectual knowledge of a concept to an experiential understanding of that concept. It is one thing to “know” something intellectually, and something completely different to understand it experientially. We have moved from intellectual knowledge to experiential understanding when that concept begins to make a difference in our life.
As physicians, we are good at dealing with things at the intellectual level. We do it every day in the practice of medicine. But we may not be as good in turning intellectual knowledge into experiential understanding. In this verse, Paul is praying that the Ephesian believers will have an experiential understanding of the hope that lies ahead for us, the riches of our inheritance and the great power that belongs to us in Christ.
These are deep concepts that require far more than mere intellectual assent. They require deep, prolonged thought and meditation. That requires time, which we often don’t have. But for those who make the time, the reward is worth it! For additional resources on how to delve deeper into these concepts, I recommend Renovare.
Prayer: Lord, help me learn how to open the eyes of my heart so that I may better know You and the wonderful gifts You have given me.