May 09, 2023

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.”

Ephesians 1:18

What prevents us from having the eyes of our hearts enlightened to the power of God and the hope of the Gospel? 

I would like to suggest two primary reasons: 

1. A casual view of sin 

There is only one outcome of sin. Destruction. 

Sin always destroys. 

James 1:14-15 reminds us, “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” 

Sin always leads to death and destruction. But we often don’t believe sin will actually lead to destruction. It looks so appealing, and it stokes our ego and feeds our desire, and we feel like it is totally harmless. We tend to treat it like it is no big deal. We treat it like it is no big deal because it starts small. We think we can control it. We think we can manage it and get away with it, and it will not take us down. 

I first heard Pastor Matt Chandler of the Village Church in Texas use this example, which still resonates with me. He talked about the old TV show “When Animals Attack.” Someone would have a pet lion that they raised from birth. As a cub, it was adorable, being fed from a bottle and climbing in their lap. Very cute. But one day, when the lion was fully grown and “domesticated,” they took it on a TV talk show, and suddenly the lion attacked someone in front of everyone. The handler, stunned, says, “I don’t know what happened?” I will tell you what happened! The lion acted like a lion! It does not matter how much you think you can control a lion; it is still the king of the jungle. It is made to attack. It does not matter how you view the lion, the lion views you as a potential meal! 

For some of us, the greatest barrier to experiencing the power of God is secret sin. You think you can control it. You think it is no big deal. You think it does not affect you. But it is slowly killing you, and it is just a matter of time before it lunges for your jugular and takes you down. 

Bring your sin into the light. Confess it. Take your sin seriously and kill the lion. A casual view of sin will destroy you and will keep your heart callous toward God. It clouds your eyes from the glory of the Gospel. 

2. Complacency in our faith 

For many people in the church, the power of God is a foreign concept because we are not actively engaged in the mission. We are comfortable and complacent. There’s no challenge, no urgency in our faith. We may look back fondly to memories of a time when we lived by faith but have now drifted into missional apathy valuing comfort more than the mission. We care more about those who’ve already heard than those who have yet to hear. We care more about the ninety-nine who are righteous than the one who is lost. As Paul is praying for the church, he is praying that we will not lose sight of the mission by drifting into complacency.

Paul does not want us to miss out on what God wants to do in us for his glory and our joy. 

No. Paul invites us to a bigger view of God! 

It’s time to accept His invitation. Take a moment to genuinely turn from any known sin in your life. Ask the Spirit to rouse you from complacency and watch what happens. The eyes of your heart will be enlightened and your view of God will be expanded.

Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama