“This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.”
The message of grace that Paul spread across the world is one that produces fruit in those who receive it far beyond what we might even imagine. In this week’s study, we will see how grace produces an understanding of who God is and begin to see a glimpse of what we are called to be.
We see in the studied passage that Paul takes time to encourage and pray for believers, laying a foundation for what is to come throughout the book, and to let us have a bird’s eye view of what is ours spiritually through Christ Jesus – His perception.
Many times I have heard Christians who are confused about their standing with God say that His will is hidden from us, that He will reveal what He wants us to know when He wants us to know it, and that if He were to show us everything at one time we couldn’t handle it. I understand what people are possibly trying to say, but in many passages throughout the New Testament, Jesus and His disciples can be heard many times making the truth and God’s will fairly obvious. It’s possible that people take that comment out of it’s true meaning – that we can’t possibly learn all there is to know about God, and that as we continue to get to know Him better, He will gladly and liberally give wisdom if we ask for it (see James 1:5). We can apply this on a very personal, very current situation we are all facing together.
Our nation is in a very dynamic situation as of this moment. Fighting, rioting, division of every and all kinds, and complete unrest. Coming out of a few month season where we are still struggling to understand an illness which managed to shut down our economy and our hopes of a normal routine, this particular passage of scripture in Ephesians 1 is incredibly encouraging: “I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling…”. Perception is everything at this time. Braving grace during such a trying season within our communities could not be more relevant. GRACE could not be more relevant. Frankly, grace is the ONLY thing that is relevant. Not one of us can truly try to be relevant or relate to the next person because each person is their own unique individual, with their own unique individual experiences. We each see things from different perspectives – creating an opportunity for perception to change depending on your relation to the situation.
At the beginning of Covid I had to remind myself that just because we were not feeling the brunt of the virus here in Florida (heat, humidity, sunshine, plentiful outdoor activities), many of my friends in other states, were seeing things on a much larger scale which would create a perception that might not look like my own. The best way I could process this in order to have compassion was to consider hurricane season. A person in Florida during the month of September, their city in the cone of uncertainty, is going to feel the effect, and have a much different perspective AND perception than someone watching the news reports from their Barcalounger in Michigan. (That reference to the BarcaLounger was for all of my FRIENDS fans!)
Perspective vs. Perception
Perspective is your point of view – it’s the lens you see the world through and determines how you view yourself, others, and everything else around you. We learn about perspective in high school art class. Remember the art teacher telling you to hold up your thumb and then bring it in closer to your eye? While the thumb is far from your face you can see much more of the rest of the picture, but when it is close to your face it tends to be all you can see. Your proximity to something will determine your perspective. When you are close to a thing it will have a stronger impact on you than everything around you, because it is taking up much of your view.
How is perception different than perspective. Both are very similar, but perception is your understanding of a given situation, person, or object. It is the meaning you assign to any given thing. Perception is what you interpret. As we say on every page, and on every post here at Braving Grace, we must filter our perspective through the lens of grace and if we do that, our perception of those things going on around us will begin to look more and more the way God intends for us to see them and to understand them – to know the hope of His calling, the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. He wants us to have wisdom and knowledge, to be enlightened with glorious revelations, and to share in the inheritance of being His children.
Sometimes I might not understand a thing, but I know that Christ in me will allow me to perceive things from a different place – from a place of grace. And it will be then that I know I am sharing in the perception of, and becoming more like, the One whom I am closest to.
To study on Your Own:
- Read Ephesians 2
- Highlight the following words (and/or words similar): grace, mercy, peace, faith, love, wisdom, salvation
- Memorize Ephesians 1:15-19 (I dare you!)
- Search scripture to find other passages or verses that correlate with Ephesians 1:15-19.
- Share your thoughts and something new you learned in the comments below
- If you don’t have a good study Bible or study supplies hop on over to our Bible Study Supplies page and see what we suggest; links are available for your convenience.