This comes from Mockingbird Magician-in-Chief, Jim McNeely.

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, 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 (Ephesians 1:18-19)

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 near Bellingham Washington 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.

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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 a mountain, 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.

Religion with an Unenlightened Heart

If you think about it, by saying that He prays that we would know that we have a hopeful calling, and that we are God’s beautiful and valuable hoped-for windfall, and that God has great power towards us, it means that we don’t know these things at first. By default we believe the opposite of the things he is praying for. By default we think that our calling is to be rejected and judged and hated. We think by default that we have no value and no good future, and no honor going forward. By default we believe that we are the opposite of a rich glorious inheritance. By default in the flesh we think God sees us as repellant and ugly and as worthless trash, and we are stuck trying to prove Him wrong and to convince Him otherwise. By default we think he dreads the future with us, because that is what our unenlightened heart believes. By default we think that God is weak and absent and limp towards us. When the revelation of lavish grace comes to us, we see that He finds us beautiful and invaluable and much longed for.

Walking in the light of this knowledge is a complete game-changer. We are truly beloved. We expect power and answers and grinning happy dancing joy on the receiving end of our prayers.

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Without supernatural revelation, we are stuck in the old dynamic of trying to prove to God that we are better than what we think He thinks of us. This is the true animus and dynamic of legalism. It is the way of the unenlightened heart. We spend all our time and energy trying to change God’s attitude towards us. Or else we try to find an alternative “God” image or idol that will accept us and hope for us and count us as beautiful. But grace is this: God thinks we are worth dying for. God thinks we are the pearl worth selling everything He has to obtain. God thinks we are a beautiful and extremely valuable inheritance. You may decide you have theological differences with this, but this is all coming from observation of the scripture text at hand – “what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” If you inherited $10,000,000 from a forgotten uncle somewhere, you know what? You would be dancing around thrilled and set free! You would hoot and holler. You would celebrate! You would call everyone you could think of and tell them! Unbelievably, this is how God feels about us!

Real Sanctification = Belief

If you have not received this revelation, you are stuck in the default fleshly mode of the heart, thinking that God judges you and hates you and dreads you. You think the redemption in His blood is all a sham. You are left trying to prove yourself to God. You come saying “Lord Lord didn’t I…” (Matthew 7:22) instead of coming in trust that He knows you. But you do His will when you believe His very great love towards you. “Sanctification” is living as one loved, not living to prove you should be loved. If you think you have to prove your lovability, you have not had this revelation – the eyes of your heart are yet closed. Square one is this: know how greatly God loves you in Christ. We can’t walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called (Ephesians 4:1) if we don’t know the worthiness and hope of our calling!

Here is the truth: it doesn’t matter if you know it or not. You don’t control God. The message of Ephesians is that He has immense kindness and love towards you, and He considers you His beautiful valuable inheritance, whether you know it or not. It just makes for a much more joyful walk if you do come to know it and carry on your life in the light of it. So believe it – God considers you to be His riches, His beautiful inheritance. He is dancing a joy dance over the thought of you. He is delighted to forgive you and He has been thinking about how to pull it off literally forever. This is what the scripture is saying. Pray to have it revealed to your HEART and rejoice!

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.

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, 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, 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)