Verse: Ephesians 1:18
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints

Ephesians 1:15-23 is in the opening of Paul’s letter to Ephesus, whom he refers to as “faithful in Christ Jesus”. This section of Ephesians is thanksgiving and prayer over the people who have come to know Jesus in Ephesus. This whole section is a sweet reminder of the Lord’s heart for us as we come to know Him. If you have time, I’d encourage you to read 15-23 another time. Today, let’s dig into just verse 18. For such a short verse, there’s a lot packed in there.

First, we have kind of a weird phase- “having the eyes of your heart enlightened”. Honestly, I could spend all of our time today just unpacking this phrase, but let’s just get to the most important parts. Throughout the Bible, the word heart is used to capture the entirety of someone’s being (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). Using the word heart in this verse is not a mistake. Paul says the eyes of our heart, because he is referring to an enlightening that impacts us in our entirety. Eyes are used to draw to mind the image of perception when things are brought to light. Light is cast on our hearts, so now we can see and understand our Savior. Once our hearts are open, we are able to receive God’s Word and guidance through the Holy Spirit.

Another interesting parallel in this phrase is personally connected to Paul. Before Paul became the great disciple and Gospel bringer that we know, he was Saul. Saul spent his time pursuing and arresting followers of Jesus. While on his way to Damascus to arrest beliebers, Saul was blinded by a bright light and heard the voice of God, calling him to turn from his sin and choose the Lord instead. He was blind for three days, before he had the enlightening of his own heart and came to know the Lord. As he received the Holy Spirit, his sight was restored. Paul uses the language of “eyes of our heart”, because it also refers to his experience of having his transformation, his eyes opening as he came to see the world through a new light.

The verse continued to explain all the Paul prays peoples’ hearts will be opened to: “the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints”. The definition of hope is as follows: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. As believers, we have the sweetest hope as the anchor for our souls. (Hebrews 6:19). It is firm and secure. We can rely on the expectation and desire for being face to face with our creator once we have run our race. We can trust that what He says is true. We can trust that He sees the big picture and gets it, even when we don’t. We can trust that we are not where we are by mistake. We can rely on our savor because we know what the hope for our future is.

This is what Paul prays others will experience, that peoples’ hearts will be enlightened to the hope that we cling to. Next, he refers to us being enlightened to the riches of the glorious inheritance of the saints. This is another interesting phrase. We can find it’s meaning in Colossians 1:27, which states “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”. We see the phrase glorious riches again, but it tells us directly that this mystery of glorious riches is Christ in us, that we have the hope of our future reunited with Him. The glorious inheritance is being able to see Jesus face to face, just as the saints before us have. Paul’s prayer for us is that we will come to realize the hope we have in knowing that our inheritance waits for us after we have run the race, we will have a place in the Kingdom of heaven, at peace with our Lord.

Lord, thank you for this sweet reminder today. Thank You for showing me Your heart for me over and over throughout Your Word. Thank You for the time to just be with You today and to dig into what You mean when You speak to me in these verses. God, help me to find a quiet moment of peace today to realign my heart with Yours. Thank You for opening up the eyes of my heart so that I might see You. Use this time to remind me of the hope that anchors my soul, that I might enter into the kingdom of heaven when my race is done and see Your face. Thank You Jesus for walking through this life with me and for reminding me that this life is not my own, and that I can cling to you, no matter the storm. We love you Lord. Amen

Author: Becca Artymenko