I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones). —Ephesians 1:16-18
This section in Ephesians is difficult for many of us to understand. What does Paul mean by “the eyes of your heart flooded with light” (v. 18)? I believe he is referring to the mind, because that’s what needs enlightenment. It is with the mind that we grasp God’s truths and hold to them.
Too many of us have difficulty being “flooded with light” because we are distracted with too many other things. The apostle prays for us to have what I call a normal mind—a mind that’s open to the Holy Spirit’s work—so that we may follow God’s plan and live enriched lives.
One way to think about the idea of a normal mind is to look at two of Jesus’ friends, Mary and Martha. Most people know the story of the sisters and the visit Jesus made to their home in Bethany. Martha scurried around, making certain that everything in their home was exactly right, while Mary sat down to listen to Jesus. Luke says Martha “was distracted with much serving” (see Luke 10:40), and she complained to Jesus that she needed her sister’s help.
Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things (v. 41), Jesus told her, and then He commended Mary for having chosen the “good portion.”
As I thought about that incident, I realized it was more than Martha being distracted. I’m sure her mind jumped around, making certain that everything was exactly right. The implication is that even if there had been nothing more to do, Martha wouldn’t have stopped to sit at Jesus’ feet. She was so caught up in busyness that her mind would have searched for something else to do.
The Marthas seem to be in control of our world, don’t they? They are the ones who get things done. When they’re not accomplishing their own goals, they seem to be telling others what they should do. In today’s world of “multi-tasking,” the Marthas seem to get the awards and the accolades. Some people are busy all the time. They wear their busyness like a badge, as if that makes them more important.
Their busyness can easily distract them from developing a solid relationship with God. They’re the ones who often lack depth of peace and rarely know spiritual contentment. That is, they don’t have what God considers a normal mind. It is not in the condition He would like it to be in.
People who are excessively busy cannot even sleep when they lie down at night. They are either mentally going over the day’s activities or making mental lists of the tasks for the next day.
This isn’t the lifestyle Jesus calls us to. As believers, we are spiritual beings, but we’re also natural. The natural doesn’t understand the spiritual and constantly fights that part of our nature. The Bible makes it clear that the mind and the spirit work together. That’s the principle I call “the mind aiding the spirit.”
For the mind to aid the spirit, we must learn to pull back from all the distractions around us. There will always be demands on our time and energy, and we can always find plenty to do. But if we want to live with the mind of Christ, the one that should be normal for Christians, it means we must learn to imitate Mary. Despite all the clamor and activities going on around her, she was able to sit, relax, and listen to the voice of the Master. That’s how the mind is supposed to work. It should be quiet and under the control of the Spirit. However, we often find that our minds are so set in a wrong direction that they actually hinder the Spirit from helping us, as they should be free to do.
If you realize from this devotion that your mind has been behaving abnormally, ask God to forgive you and teach you what a normal mind is in His kingdom.
Dear God in heaven, distractions constantly come at me. When I try to pause and focus on You, my mind seems to be filled with dozens of things I need to do. I realize that I truly need only one thing—to focus on You. Please help me push away every distraction and noise so I can hear only Your voice that says, “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.” Amen.