The Eyes of Your Heart- Ephesians 1:18

In this passage, we find what Paul (and God) would like to see come to pass in the lives of all those who have trusted Christ as their Lord and Savior. He desired, first of all, that they would receive the “spirit of wisdom and revelation”, which meant that they would see and understand the true meaning of things, that they would see things as God does, from His point of view and through His eyes. He next prays that the “eyes of their heart may be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18). This is a very unusual expression, used only by Paul. So we are faced with determining exactly what he means by it and how it applies to every believer. We must first understand that this expression is a figure of speech, and not meant to be taken “literally”, since he obviously does not mean our physical heart (the muscle in our chest which pumps blood), and the heart in our chest does not have physical “eyes”. So what does he mean in employing this particular figure of speech? The “heart” is a term commonly made reference to in the Bible, and space does not permit a full word study of its usage here. We will merely summarize the findings of others, and what they have found is that the heart is essentially the inner core of a person (both the Hebrew and Greek words translated as heart literally mean “core or center”), the “control center” for all of our behavior. This is what Jesus meant in Matthew 15:18-19, when He told His disciples that our words and actions proceed “out of the heart”. As we study the usage of the word heart in the Bible, we find that it is described as the seat or source of our thoughts, emotions, actions and desires. We think, feel, desire and act with our hearts. It is the heart which determines and controls our thoughts, emotions, actions and desires, it is the heart which determines why we think the way we think, feel the way we feel, behave the way we behave, and desire what we desire. The heart is not only the source of what we think, feel, do and desire, it is also the source of why we think, feel, behave and desire the way we do. Having said all of this, we can now explore what Paul meant in his expression the “eyes of the heart”. Of course it is obvious that eyes always have to do with “seeing” something, but since these are not physical eyes referred to here, Paul does not mean seeing something visibly or physically, but rather refers to “seeing” something mentally, to see as in to understand or comprehend. This takes place here by the eyes of our hearts being “enlightened”. The Greek word translated “enlightened” here is the perfect passive participle of photizo, to “enlighten”, to shine a light on something so it can be seen. By the use of the passive voice here, Paul lets us know that this is not something we can do ourselves, it is something which must be done to us by someone else. So ultimately what he prays here in using this figure of speech is that God would shine a light in the hearts of all believers so that they would comprehend and understand something. And what does he want them to understand? He wants them to see and understand what is in their hearts. In other words, he wants them to see and understand why they think the way they think, feel the way they feel, behave the way they behave and desire what they desire. He ultimately prays here that all believers would undergo a heart transformation, that all would see why they feel, think, behave and desire the way they do, for it is only when we understand why we are the way we are that we will be able to make any lasting and meaningful change in the way we are. As we can see, Paul packs a lot of insight into six Greek words (which includes two definite articles, the English word “the”), and our “unpacking” of these words has shown us a fundamental desire of God for the lives of all believers. God desires that each of us would come to know exactly why we think, feel, act and desire the way in which we do, in order that He may bring about a “change of heart” in every one of us, that our hearts would be conformed to the image of Christ, so that we all may begin to think more like Christ thought, to feel more like Christ felt, to behave more like Christ behaved and to desire more of what Christ desired. This is both Paul’s prayer and God’s desire for all believers, and may we all begin to pray that this would become a reality in our own lives as well,

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