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Take Yourself Seriously

27 May 2012.  Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 24:36, 44-53

Paul wrote, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” Some people have a problem with that, because they do think too highly of themselves.

To others it would be written, “Do not think of yourself more poorly than you ought,” because they think too little of themselves.

How are we to think of ourselves – not too highly and not too lowly – how would we think about ourselves “just-rightly”?

The first thing to say is that our potential as human beings is wrapped up in God, our designer and creator. Every human being has enormous potential, by design, but realising that potential requires a connection with God.

In Paul’s prayer, just read to us, it say, “may [God] give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.”

  1. It is assumed you will get to know God. It is assumed that you faith in God will not remain distant or speculative, but will be grounding in getting to know God.
  2. He prays you will gain wisdom, which we could all use, but also revelation – that God would be revealed to you.
  3. He prays that you will have the eyes of your heart opened. Eyes are for seeing. He desires that, in your most inner being, you will see some things –
    •  You will truly see the certain hope to which you have been called.
    •  The riches of the glorious inheritance – that which you are gaining and are set to gain, in this world and the next.
    •  The immeasurable greatness of God’s power, working in us, and through us to others.

The blind person cannot see, and likewise until God begins to open our spiritual eyes, we cannot see any of these things. We are walking, as it were, by blind faith.

But when those eyes begin to open, what will we see and how will we see it?

Notwithstanding our seemingly infinite ability to grasp untruth as if it were truth, we should see that our greatest assets are all gifts from God. As such no one should boast. Are you cleverer than others? Manually skilled? Better at teaching? Athletic? You were made that way, even if you have contributed.

But in the things that go beyond the everyday into the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, you are more than ever only the receiver of God’s good gifts?

Then we could say that it is all God, and I am only a bystander. But that too is not the truth. Without your cooperation God’s gifts would remain unused.

Years ago, God raised a different part of my personality, seemingly from nothing. It required my participation through some times in which I was most uncomfortable and entirely incompetent.

I beg you to take yourself seriously. God does. Why else would God take his riches and invest them in you? To make you look bad? No, to make you good in the very best sense of the word! To raise you up, to make you more than you could ever be!

I am what I am, only because of God. My potential comes entirely from God. By contrast, the realisation of my potential is a joint effort. To the extent of my cooperation with God, the outcome is only limited by what God decides.

There, of course, is one of our greatest problems – we so easily either assume more than what God wants, or insist on less.

We think, for example, that God wants to heal everyone, without facing the reality that sickness and death are part of the human condition.

Then we think, equally wrongly, that God would not heal someone through us.

Whose power is at work in us? Whose power is at work through us? I pray too that our inner eyes will be opened to see what is happening in us.

Look around this room! Do you see a bunch of random people sharing this room with you? Or do you see people in whom the creator of this universe resides? Do you see these people in whom the God of glory is at work?

God takes them all very seriously; God takes you very seriously. You don’t have to be proud, but you can be amazed. You needn’t be scared, but then again maybe you should be.

God is doing something incredible in you – beyond the microscopes of science, beyond even the imaginings of science fiction.

God has a purpose, and you are part of both the purpose and the means of achieving that purpose.

So I beg of you to take yourself very seriously. You needn’t think of yourself too highly, nor too lowly. You are just another human being that God is transforming by his own power and glory.