The Eyes of Your Heart (1:18)
How can two people look at the same thing or event and come away with very different conclusions? Culturally, this is explained through a system of beliefs called “relativism” which states that only perspective (as opposed to real, objective truth) exists. This belief system is summed up in the phrase, “What may be right to you may not be so to me; who am I to judge?”
Ephesians points us in a different direction for answering this question. People come away with different conclusions because of the varying conditions of their hearts. Our beliefs, values, agenda, priorities, hopes, allegiances, pet peeves, and affections shape what we see. Christians believe in more than objective truth. Christians believe that our hearts must be in tune with God’s heart in order to perceive and respond to our world correctly.
Application: When you and a friend recall a given conversation or event differently consider how the “eyes of your heart” (beliefs, values, agenda, priorities, hopes, allegiances, pet peeves, and affections) shaped the difference. Try to step out of your perspective and vested interest to ask what God’s heart for that moment was. Until we begin to ask questions about the “eyes of heart” we will not know if they are blind.
Hope to Which He Has Called You (1:18)
We are called to hope. That seems like a simple statement, but (to be honest) it caught me off guard. It seemed much more natural to say we have been called as God’s children (relationship), to share the Gospel (mission), or to live holy lives (character). But it seemed a bit odd to think that we have been called to hope (disposition).
While I do not believe there is one ultimate personality – as if fully sanctified people will share the same sense of humor or risk-tolerance, it does seem that we are called to express our personalities (extrovert/introvert, optimist/pessimist, random/orderly, spender/saver) displaying a disposition of hope.
Reflection: This must mean that hope can come in many different “flavors.” Do you tend to think of hope as having one mode of expression? What about other virtues of disposition (humility, faith, love, courage, patience)? What do we lose when we assign these virtues
to particular personality types or modes of expression? Use you imagination to consider what each virtue (especially hope) might look like when expressed by different types of people.
Christ the Head
Any debate over what it means for a husband to be the head of his wife in Ephesians 5:23, should not begin until a study has been done of what it means for Christ to be the head of the church in Ephesians 1:22. The relationship of husband and wife are meant to mirror the relationship of Christ and the church. To start with husband and wife questions would be like learning about the Grand Canyon from a picture when you could take a tour by donkey back.
There is no way to answer the breadth of questions this subject creates and this goal here is not to debate skeptics. What can be offered is a process of reflection for the genuinely confused or those seeking a more complete understanding. Use the following questions to help you journey from Ephesians 1 (where Paul starts) to Ephesians 5.
- How does Christ relate to the church in authority, compassion, guidance, allowing freedom/preference, sacrifice, patience, etc…?
- What are other titles/metaphors/roles by which Christ relates to the church? How are these similar to, different from, or complementary with that of “head”?
- How well does the church respond to Christ as her head?
- How does Christ respond to the church in the midst of her struggles to submit?
- What decisions do a husband and wife face where headship and submission are needed? In what situations should general obedience (actions, values, and disposition) to God’s Word make headship and submission largely irrelevant categories?
- How should a husband relate to his wife in authority, compassion, guidance, allowing freedom/preference, sacrifice, patience, etc…?
- What other titles/metaphors/roles does Scripture give for how a husband relates to his wife?
- What should happen when a husband fails to be a Christ-like head? What should happen when a wife fails to respond in church-like submission?
- What practical or theological questions remain for you about husband-wife relations?
As you continue in this study of Ephesians, pay careful attention to the relationship between Christ and the church to prepare you to accurately apply the marriage section.
Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.