Remember when people used to use the hashtag “#SquadGoals” on social media? It was usually partnered with a heart-warming picture, like an elderly married couple dancing alone in their living room, or a gang of siblings working together to get those forbidden oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies from the top of the fridge. Squad goals—it’s what we say when we see something worth emulating, what we would like to have in our lives, in our futures, in our present. When we read this section from Paul, how can we not think #SquadGoals?
The apostle Paul had heard about the Ephesians’ resilient faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus—that and their love for other Christians. The Ephesian church serves as a model reminder for essential biblical spirituality: loving God and loving one another. We never move on from these ingredients; they are the salt and pepper of genuine Christian spirituality.
Paul’s goals for the Ephesians (and all believers) continue to build, layer after layer. And this is why he was led to write to them, saying: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18). He’s praying for this squad of saved sinners’ hearts to be enlightened, illuminated, dialed up. Paul asks the Father of lights to turn up the wattage of gospel glories in their hearts so they can know more fully what is theirs in King Jesus. He asks that their “hearts will be flooded with light so that [they] can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance” (Ephesians 1:18, NLT).
What a great prayer! Paul wants us to know how good we have it in Jesus. Our God isn’t a cheapskate. He doesn’t save us but then limit our access to a thrift-store franchise of the throne room. No way. Do we know the wealth, the infinite abundance that is our inheritance in Christ Jesus? As believers, we have a never-ending glory headed our way. But do we go garage-sale shopping for hope instead? Rummaging around headlines and digitized bodies, under the effects of social media or hops and barley? Dimmed hearts don’t easily remember their great hope. Paul prays for the light in our hearts to go all the way up so we can see, know, hope, and believe again in God’s immeasurable, peer-less power at work in us. It’s true.
It’s easy to get discouraged in our day-to-day lives. Paul prays against that for the Ephesians, and this is something we need to pray for ourselves and others. Ask the “light of the world” to shine on your heart (John 8:12), enabling you to not only see but to ooh and ahh over His great power that is at work in you. Pray this for yourself, your church, your community. His transformational power on display in us and through us, bringing Him glory—that’s the goal, the hope we have in Jesus.
Written by J.A. Medders