a spirit of wisdom

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,” Ephesians 1:17 (ESV)

The discernment that comes from wisdom is such a wonderfully generous gift. A gift from God the Father.

It’s often assumed that wisdom comes with age. And I suppose there is no one or nothing older than God.

Yet whilst experience can contribute to wise decision making it’s neither exclusive to nor prevalent amongst us “oldies”.

And here, in this passage, it comes hand-in-hand with “knowledge”. A “knowledge of Him”.

Though not just a “knowledge” of facts that’s cold and impersonal. Rather, an intimate “knowledge” that is more about God’s character: who He is together with what He is.

In much the same way we may have an especially close relationship with a friend, a family member, or even a spouse.

And where do these gifts come from?

The “revelation” is clearly outlined in the Bible. A God of love, compassion, grace, and mercy.

And it’s the Holy Spirit who guides our understanding.


prayer : that God would grant me the gift of spiritual wisdom and “knowledge”

action : read the Bible regularly, ideally daily

I do not cease to give thanks for you

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,” Ephesians 1:15-16 (ESV)

In his prayers for the various churches Paul often writes about how he is thankful for them based upon their behaviour.

In this instance it is their “faith” and their “love”. Not unlike yesterday’s letter to the Thessalonians.

Given the recurring theme in his epistles it is clearly very, very important.

Paul’s single-minded focus serves as a terrific model for our own prayers.

The book “A Call to Spiritual Reformation” by Don Carson does exactly this. Emphasising the benefit of using Pauline prayers as a template for our own prayer-life.

Building up a repertoire of prayers that are clearly Biblical and God-centred.

Some modification to the prayers will, of course, be necessary. Personalising them to our own circumstances and those of the church we attend and the 21st-Century world we live in.

Yet the trials we face and the struggles we may have to endure are not dissimilar to those of the church in the first century.


prayer : that I would be consistently praying for my fellow believers

action : model my prayers on those of Paul

we ought always to give thanks to God

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (ESV)

More on the topic of Thanksgiving. But this time it’s Paul’s thankfulness for his “brothers” at Thessalonica.

Specifically, because their “faith is growing” and their “love” “for one another is increasing”.

I love the balance between the inward, personal “faith” and the outward, helpful “love”.

And how their “faith” is not just “growing” but “growing abundantly”. Such providence can only come from God.

Both are important aspects of the Christian life. Both are necessary elements.

I imagine one leads to the other. That their trust in the Lord results in greater “love” for each other as they become less distracted by worldly concerns.

And so how could Paul not be thankful?


prayer : that my “faith” would “grow” and thus my “love” for my brothers and sisters in Christ would “increase”

action : pray for my fellow Christians

give thanks to the LORD

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalms 118:29 (ESV)

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving today I am challenged to think about thankfulness.

It’s a common theme these days but I want to look at it from a Biblical perspective.

It’s an easy trap to thank God for the many blessings we have. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, it is thanks to Him that we have all these good things.

But do we thank Him for simply “loving” us “steadfastly”.

For His patience? His forgiveness? The wonderful gift of His precious Son sent to die on the cross for us despite our, and sadly because of our, rejection of Him who loves us unconditionally?

In a materialistic society the focus is, more often than not, centred around our welfare and wellbeing.

We thank God for possessions and health and family etc. But as great as these all are, they’re simply temporal. Fleeting. Transitory. As the writer of Ecclesiastes astutely observes.

We seem so selfish. So self-interested. So self-absorbed.

There are people living on the streets of our cities. Countless millions starving in Third World countries. Kids being sold into slavery and prostitution.

Friends suffering from disease. Mental anguish. Stress. Pain. Loss. Grief.

I lament the greed and idolatry of our society and the way it distracts us from the important things: God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible.

Shouldn’t our energy be spent helping others? Loving others? Praying for others?

Isn’t our priority to be a witness of God’s love in this broken world?

How can we best do this? What practical things do you do?


prayer : thank you God for your never-ending love

action : seek to love others as God loves us