Posted on Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 by First15

Enter into his presence

Weekly Overview:

God’s goodness over our lives far exceeds anything we’ve experienced. We’ve only yet splashed around in the shallows of God’s deep love and mercy. In order to dive deeper into the fullness of life available to us, we must learn how to posture our hearts. May your relationship with God be enriched this week as you position yourself to receive all your loving heavenly Father has to give. 

Day 15 - Honesty Before God

“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

I’ve spent countless, exhausting hours in my fleeting life working to portray myself as a person I know I’m not. Whether in relationships with friends, family, my spouse, or God, I find myself consistently creating a facade for myself I hope others will like better than who I actually am. I feared that if I truly opened myself up to others and got rejected, I would have nothing left. If I am fully myself, will I be enough? 

Hebrews 4:13 says, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Scriptures like this used to seriously frighten me. The idea that an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly holy God knew everything I had ever done was too invasive for me. If I couldn’t even muster up the courage to truly be myself to man, how could I handle being “naked and exposed” to my heavenly Father? 

It wasn’t until I began experiencing the powerful, overwhelming love of my heavenly Father that these frail, false constructions began to fall apart brick-by-brick, lie after lie. The process God takes us through in unveiling our hearts represents his perfect kindness, patience, and pursuit of us. He waits for us to come before him, openly and honestly, patiently beckoning us with his love. He is perfectly accepting of us as long as we don’t fake it with him. As soon as the prodigal son came home in a posture of humility and honesty, he was immediately embraced, accepted, and offered intimate relationship with his Father once again. 

It’s absolutely vital that we pursue honesty before God because he will not address what is not true. He will not try and help this false projection. He will not meet with that which doesn’t truly exist. Brennan Manning writes in his book Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging, “The false self is frustrated because he never hears God’s voice. He cannot, since God sees no one there.” Thomas Merton says of the false self, “This is the man I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him” (Merton’s Place of Nowhere, James Finley). 

To be honest before God is to invite a perfectly loving, powerful, and grace-filled Father into the places of our lives that need him the most. He longs to be asked into the very wounds we work so tirelessly to cover up. He longs to heal and transform the darkest, hardest places of our hearts we’ve hidden into fertile soil that can bear the fruit of his Spirit. He longs for us to be fully known by him in every way that we might experience the full depths of his powerful, transformational love. 

Take time in guided prayer to truly open your heart to God and be honest. Tell him your doubts, fears, and failures. Open up the parts of your past that you have worked so hard to cover up. And let his love in that you might experience healing in his powerful presence. 

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the importance of being honest before God. 
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with courage to be vulnerable before God in faith. 

“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

“Would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.” Psalm 44:21

2. Open up your heart to God and be truly honest with him. 
How are you feeling right now? How have you acted toward him? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any places of your heart that are veiled and kept in shadows. 

3. Ask God to help you receive his love in the areas of your heart that are in desperate need of him. 
Open up to him the places of your past that have plagued you for so long. Ask him how he feels about you that you might receive healing. 

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Making space in our lives to receive healing for our hearts from the Lord is a vital exercise in spiritual growth. We don’t have to be plagued by the wounds from our past. We don’t have to spend so much of our time and energy trying to cover up times we were genuinely hurt. The only path to growth passes through God’s healing presence. He wants to address and heal that which you might feel has formed you. He wants to tear up all the work you’ve done to harden your heart that you might truly live healed, free, and vulnerable. Pursue healing for your heart and experience the life available to you in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Extended Reading: Psalm 103

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

Day 16 - Honesty Before Man

“For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21

The world is right now in an identity crisis. With the global rise of social media and the Internet, we can now project ourselves to the world as anything we want. We’ve been given the option of only being partly known by countless people rather than really known by a few. We can attempt to fill a gap in our souls for love and relationship with the online world rather than being fully known in our strengths and weaknesses, our greatest faults and soaring successes. We’re in need of an awakening of honesty. 

Having an honest heart before man is the only path to experiencing true liberation from the binding opinions of others. When we work tirelessly to build up a false self so that we can receive affirmation from others, we never truly experience love. For our false self to be loved is not truly love at all because we constantly have the thought, “If they really knew me, they wouldn’t love me.” We have an enemy aimed at the destruction of our greatest need: truly being loved. And exaggeration, false projections, and outright lies guide us exactly where our enemy wants us, into a lifestyle of never truly being known and therefore never truly being loved for who we are. 

Throughout Scripture we see that wherever the Spirit is at work, the acts of confession, repentance, and truly being known to others are the result. Acts 19:18 tells us, “Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.” And God commands us in Colossians 3:9, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.” You see, to project a lie or exaggeration of ourselves to others is to declare that we value the opinion of man over the opinion of God. Every time we work to create a better image of ourselves, we step outside of God’s grace and work for the love of man. 

The path to truly being loved starts with being honest before God and man. It starts with positioning ourselves to truly be loved by God. In his book The Furious Longing of God, Brennan Manning describes what happens when we encounter God’s furious longing for us. He says, “The praise of others will not send your spirit soaring, nor will their criticism plunge you into the pit. Their rejection may make you sick, but it will not be a sickness unto death.” God longs to set us free from the emotional roller-coaster of living for the affirmation of man. God loves you where you, as you are. You don’t need to strive for the fleeting, burdensome affection of people any longer. The Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe is waiting right now to pour out a love so rich and true that it will set you free from ever needing what the world has to offer. 

Take time in guided prayer today to meditate on the importance of being honest with others around you. Receive the love of God and be filled with courage to be fully known. Posture your heart at a place to be truly loved by God and others for who you are. May you experience the power of true, honest love today. 

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the importance of being honest with others around you. 

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” Proverbs 28:6

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.” Colossians 3:9

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16

2. Confess to God any ways in which you’ve been striving for the approval of the world. 
Ask the Lord to overwhelm you with his love today that you might receive all you need from him. Ask him to show you how he feels about you. Receive his forgiveness. 

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19-20

3. Commit yourself to being fully known today. 
Ask God to fill you with courage to not project yourself as better or different than you are. Ask him to help you live today as you truly are, trusting that his love is all you need. 

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

One of the most powerful ways to be free from creating a false self is to engage in consistent confession with fellow believers. Your spouse needs to know your sin. Healing and freedom comes from bringing what was in the dark into the light so that we might gain proper perspective and have victory. The enemy longs to keep our sins in the dark until the day that bringing them to the light will do the greatest damage to us and to God. Don’t allow fear to keep you from the fullness of life God has for you. Confess your sins to others today, and ask for their help in being fully known. May you have faith that God will only ever guide you to a more abundant life. And may you receive the freedom and love that comes from truly being known today. 

Extended Reading: Colossians 3

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

Day 17 - Acknowledging Our Need

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

The greatest place for our hearts to be is in constant acknowledgment of our need for God. Our God never forces his help on us. He never forces us to follow his perfect, pleasing will. And he never forces us into the encounters with him we were created for. But, as soon as we acknowledge our need of him, his love comes rushing in, satisfying every dry and weary place of our heart. 

In Luke 10:38-42, we find one of the most important lessons in all of Scripture. The Bible says, 

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” 

Jesus’ words here draw me to a higher calling. I long for the “good portion” that won’t be taken away. I see here a truth I so often don’t pursue. The absolute best thing I could “do for God” is to sit at his feet. The thing he most desires of me is to simply open my heart and let him love me, teach me, heal me, and be with me. Mary acknowledged her need of God and sat at the feet of Love. Mary looked to Jesus as her source, not the opinion of her sister, and got the affirmation of God himself. 

How often do we allow the temporal, fleeting parts of this life to be enough? How often do we settle for so much less than what’s available to us? How often do we allow the fickle affirmations of man to be enough when we can know the thoughts of our heavenly Father toward us (Psalm 139:17-18)?

Psalm 73:26 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Let’s pursue that which is lasting and truly satisfying. Let’s set aside the ways of this world and spend our days living for the presence of God. Let’s center our lives around Jesus. Let’s acknowledge our need of God that we might receive all the love, help, healing, and transformation he longs to provide today.

Take time in guided prayer to choose the good portion and spend time at the feet of your loving Savior.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the importance of acknowledging your need of God. 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

2. Where have you been self-sufficient? 
Where have you been allowing the things of the world to be enough? 

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

3. Cast aside the things of the world, its worries, stresses, and fears, and take time to sit at the feet of Jesus. 
Ask Jesus to make you aware of his nearness. Ask him to fill you with his presence. Take time to rest in his goodness.       

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

May Matthew 11:25-30 guide you to the rest available to you anywhere, anytime. May you experience peace that surpasses all understanding:

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

Extended Reading: John 15

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

Day 18 - Faith and Trust

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

Where we place our faith and trust is like the currency of our hearts. We have a limited amount of faith and trust to invest and real returns to gain or lose depending on where we choose to invest them. Scripture is clear that we cannot place our faith and trust in both God and the world. We cannot choose money and God as our anchors of hope. We cannot choose both the opinion of man and God’s opinion. We cannot choose our own will and his. We must, moment-by-moment, choose where we will invest our limited, valuable currency of faith and trust. 

If we as children of God truly believe that his word is truth, a vast reservoir of peace and joy is available to us today. The Bible is clear about what we get in return for placing our faith and trust in God alone. Jesus said in Matthew 6:30, “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” And then later in verse 34, Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” What would it look like for us to truly have faith in God to the level that we really didn’t worry about tomorrow? What kind of peace would it bring to truly place the cares, burdens, and stresses of this world squarely on the shoulders of the Almighty, all-loving God? 

To go deeper into the fullness of life available to us in Jesus requires putting our faith and trust in God alone. We will never experience the peace of heaven if our hope is in this earth. We will never experience the power and help of the Holy Spirit if our hope is in our own abilities, talents, and strengths. We will never fully experience the satisfaction of truly being loved if we place our hope of affirmation in the opinions of others. The only path to truly experiencing the abundant life available to us in Jesus is placing our faith and trust in him alone. 

Jeremiah 29:13 promises, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Choose to place your faith and trust in God alone today that you might seek him with “all of your heart.” Place your hope in him alone for he alone is faithful. Do as 1 Peter 5:7 commands and “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (NIV). You will never find a return on your investment of faith and trust in anything of the world like you will in God. God will take your faith and trust and multiply it until your life is a perfect reflection of his loving-kindness. May you find true satisfaction, peace, and joy in God today as you crown him King of your heart.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the importance of placing your faith and trust in God alone. 

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

2. What have you been placing your faith and trust in other than God? 
What have you put your hope in? Where have you been storing up treasure on earth rather than with your Father in heaven? 

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20

3. Confess those sins to God, and place your faith and trust in him alone. 
Receive his love and rest in his faithful presence. Allow him to reveal his heart for you that you might know the wonders of his amazing hopes and dreams for you. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“That they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:27

To place your faith and trust in God alone is not to free yourself from the need to act, be responsible, and work, but rather to position yourself to receive empowerment, guidance, and grace for every action, responsibility, and work. To place our faith and trust in God alone is to humble ourselves before God as our King, Shepherd, Helper, and Provider so that all we do is done through him. May your life be filled with his loving presence, guidance, and power as you place your faith and trust in him alone. 

Extended Reading: Hebrews 11

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

Day 19 - Understanding

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalms 145:18

For most believers, understanding and experience seem to be mutually exclusive. Theology and spirituality are believed to be separate, and while one might help the other, they don’t belong together as one wholehearted pursuit of God. The truth is that understanding and experience couldn’t be more intertwined. In fact, one does not truly exist without the other. To experience God is to have understanding. To understand God is to experience. It’s for this reason Jesus said in John 4:23-24, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

God longs for us to know him in spirit and truth, in experience and understanding. I can’t truly know someone by just reading a book about them. I can’t say that I know C. S. Lewis, Martin Luther, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer just because I’ve read a biography or some of their works. It is the same with God. Scripture is intended to give us understanding about God and guide us into a true relationship with him. Its words are intended to be an avenue to the Author who wrote them. And if we will adopt a perspective of gaining as much understanding about our heavenly Father as possible in order to know him more, Scripture will become a priceless resource to our lives we cannot do without. 

Having understanding about the God we’re pursuing is absolutely vital to going deeper. Psalm 145:18 tells us, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” And Jesus commands us in Matthew 22:37 to “love the Lord your God with all your . . . mind.” Your mind is the gateway to your heart. If you believe lies about who you are or who God is, you will never seek him fully or properly. If you don’t know of his goodness, faithfulness, and nearness promised to you by Scripture, you’ll never have a reason to pursue truly knowing God. 

God longs to guide you in a process of daily renewing your mind through Scripture. The Holy Spirit longs to help and teach you the truth of Scripture that you might know the God you serve. If you will commit yourself to a process of renewing your mind, new avenues will be created from your understanding to experience. If you will truly love the Lord by giving him your understanding to be molded and transformed, the truth of his love for you will flood from your mind to the untouched, dry, and weary places in your life. Commit to growing in your understanding of the Lord today that you might grow in your relationship with your loving, near, heavenly Father.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the importance of worshiping God in spirit and truth. 

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:23-24

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

2. In what ways have you been pursuing experience or understanding as if they are mutually exclusive? 
In what ways have you allowed a head knowledge of God or an experience of God to be enough? 

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what it’s like to truly pursue God in spirit and in truth. 
Ask him what it’s like to live your life where understanding and experience are never separated. Rest in his presence and commit yourself to knowing God in every part of your life. 

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalms 145:18

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13

God is after redemption and transformation in every part of our lives. Our spirit, soul, and body are not separated as if we can work on one part without developing the others. Our understanding affects both our hearts and bodies. Our emotions are impacted directly by our thoughts. And our bodies carry the weight of our stress or joy. To truly be transformed by God is to invite him into every facet of ourselves and allow his love to do a mighty and necessary work. May you experience the fullness of joy and redemption today as you invite God to transform every part of your life.

Extended Reading: John 16

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

Day 20 - Surrender

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39

Jesus makes an important and paradoxical statement in Matthew 10:39: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” What does it look like to lose your life for his sake? How is it possible to find life as the result of losing it? You and I are only truly living to the degree that we’ve surrendered our lives to Jesus. True life is eternal, kingdom-based, and fueled by the love of God. Life apart from God is fleeting and meaningless. It’s for this reason Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:14 says, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.” 

We have opportunity every day to lay our lives down at the feet of Jesus in response to his great love that we might experience the abundant life only he can give. Surrender positions our hearts to receive the incredible reward of being fully God’s. God won’t force his blessings on us. He won’t force his presence or his love. He patiently draws us near, hoping that in response to his overwhelming affections we will lay down our lives that we might experience all the wonders he has in store for us. 

Humbling ourselves before God as our King, Creator, and Sustainer is absolutely vital in going deeper. Pride so often stands in the way of God’s conditional promises. Scripture is clear in James 4:6, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Promises like “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” found in Matthew 6:33 require a level of humility and surrender most aren’t willing to give.

We often associate humility with weakness when in reality declaring our weakness before an Almighty God is the only posture of strength we can take. It’s for this reason that Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:30, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” When we humble ourselves before God and surrender, we position ourselves to receive all the abundance of help, power, guidance, and love we could ever need. 

God is an endless ocean of love, help, healing, and power. The Holy Spirit who dwells within you longs to empower you with everything you need to truly live in the fullness of life available to you. If you will choose to lay down your life in surrender to God’s plans, purposes, truth, and perfect will,  you will experience a life unlike anything you’ve known. Take time today to lose your life that you may find it in God. Cast aside all pride and selfish ambition that you might pursue the wonderful, abundant life of one submitted to an Almighty, omnipotent, omnipresent, and fully loving Father. 

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the need for surrender in fully pursuing God. 

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” James 4:6

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

2. In what ways have you been allowing pride, fear, or selfish ambition to keep you from fully surrendering to God? 
In what ways have you been seeking glory for yourself? 

3. Lay your life down at the feet of your good and loving Savior that you might experience the fullness of his love, grace, and affection for you. 
Rest at the feet of Jesus. Choose the good portion today rather than spending all your energy seeking fleeting admiration and temporal possessions.

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:38-42

While surrender in the world results in defeat, surrender to God brings ultimate victory. When we stop pursuing our own glory and worldly acclamation's, we begin building up treasure in heaven that will never be taken away from us. God’s plans for us are infinitely better than anything we could do on our own. His heavenly rewards for us vastly outweigh any sense of earthly accomplishments. Surrendering our lives completely to God releases us from the constraints of this world that we might live for the kingdom that will never end. May your life be completely wrapped up in the goodness of your loving Savior.

Extended Reading: James 4

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

Day 21 - Gaining Spiritual Eyes

“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 1:18

In order to go deeper in God, we must allow him to open the eyes of our hearts to see him as he truly is. So often we settle in our relationship with him for that which can only be seen with our physical eyes. We settle for community apart from unity in the Spirit, God’s word apart from revelation from the Spirit, and look to “open” or “closed” doors as our guide rather than making space to ask for the Holy Spirit’s leadership. It’s time for us as the body of Christ to truly live in the fullness of relationship afforded to us by his sacrifice. It’s for this reason, in Ephesians 1:16-19, Paul told the Church in Ephesus, 

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 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, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe. 

We need the “eyes of our hearts” to be enlightened today. We need the Holy Spirit to come and do a mighty work that we might no longer live only for that which is seen, but by faith pursue the unseen. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” God longs for us to pursue the deeper things of him in faith. He longs for us to grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit and learn to live life with his presence, leadership, voice, and love as the foundation for everything we do. 

To live only by the things we can physically see is to live only for that which is temporal and fleeting. Psalm 101:3 says, “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.” God has worthwhile work in store for us. He has a plan to bring heaven to earth through our lives every day. But in order to make an impact on eternity we must be able to see and know the heart of God. We must become increasingly aware of how God feels and what he wants to do moment-by-moment. 

Growing in our relationship with the Holy Spirit is the foundation of seeking the deeper things of God. Learning to live by and with him is the only way to advance his kingdom. Take time in guided prayer today to ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart. Ask him to guide you into a deeper and more connected relationship with him. And choose today to pursue a life marked by deep connection with your heavenly Father and powerful works of his Spirit.

Guided Prayer:

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart. 
Meditate on Scripture and take time to rest in his presence. 

“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 1:18

“Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17

“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” Proverbs 20:12

2. Where have you been doing life apart from connectivity to the Spirit? 
Where have you been living temporally instead of for eternity? 

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live connected to him today. 

“Be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18

“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Jesus promised us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” When we seek all the blessings God has to give such as being loved, being known, being provided for, and being filled with the Spirit, we can know that we will find what we seek. The door to going deeper in God will always be opened whenever we come to it and knock. God will never withhold himself from us when we purely desire more of him. Have faith today in the goodness of your heavenly Father and pursue the deeper things of him that you might live in greater union with him today. 

Extended Reading: Ephesians 1

Article reposted from permission from First15

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