For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you,remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 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, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
I recall a moment of great relief when a medical test proved that one of our children did not have a serious disease. I was moved to a deep sense of thanksgiving and praise to God. I recall receiving an unexpected gift of money from an anonymous source, and the great joy that it brought me with praise to God. I recall a moment in worship when I sensed that we were one within that body of believers, and the sincere thankfulness that welled up in my heart. I occasionally remember the time in our life when we would have to think twice or three times about whether or not to buy a $5 bottle of wine, as I enjoy a glass of wine today, and give thanks to God that I can pay $20 for a bottle of wine today with little debate.
Those momentary flashes of thankfulness are real, sincere, and worthy cause for praise to God. But they are incidental, and not what Paul speaks of here. Paul never stops giving thanks to God. Because he saw God’s work in the lives of the people of Ephesus: their faith in Jesus and their love for one another. Beyond that, however, he prays for their continued connection with Jesus Christ, giving all glory to God.
It is also remarkable to me that Paul does not encourage them to love one another (though he will certainly speak to that later in this letter). He speaks here, however, of the source of our love for each other. When we embrace the love of God in Christ by faith most fully, we will be moved to love one another. He is the source of our love for each other as well as the inspiration for our love for him.
That is why all glory goes to God. And Paul’s expression of praise to God is vitally important, even as he prays that these people will know Christ better, and be enlightened as to our hope in Christ.
I get that, and hope that somehow I can have that same thankful attitude to God for his people whom I serve. I am writhing this for my own personal spiritual edification. But if you’re reading this now, please know I thank God for you and pray that we together may give all glory to him…now and for all eternity!