I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 1:19-20 NLT
Paul was a praying man. His letters are filled with the prayers he prayed on behalf of God’s people. They give a glimpse into his heart and into what he believed to be of highest priority when it came to the lives of the people of God. First of all, Paul continually thanked God for all those whom He had restored to a right relationship with Himself through faith in Christ. Paul did not take the salvation of a single individual for granted. He viewed it as the redemptive work of a gracious God, who was not obligated to save a single soul. But Paul was not content with their salvation, he knew that God wanted to bring about their sanctification. So he prayed to that end. He asked God to give them spiritual wisdom and insight so that they might grow in their knowledge of Him. They needed God to give them the capacity and cognitive ability to see Him at work all around them. It is one thing to read the stories of God’s interactions with mankind recorded in the Scriptures. But it is another thing to be able to see and experience the interactions of God in your own life as He interjects Himself into the daily affairs of each day. That is when we really get to know Him – experientially, not just intellectually.
Paul also prayed that the “eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19 NASB). Paul wanted them to see things from a spiritual, not an earthly perspective. He wanted them to develop the ability to see things from God’s point of view. Rather than focus solely on the things of this earth, they were to see things through a new set of lenses. Believers are to be people of hope. We have a future. We have an inheritance. And we have a power available to us that is unlike anything else in this world. It is the very same power that raised Christ from the dead. Paul describes it this way: “This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:19-20 NLT). Paul told the Romans that this power was not some disembodied energy source, but the Spirit of God Himself. “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” (Romans 8:11 NLT). We have this incredible source of power living within us in the form of the Holy Spirit. And Paul prayed that all believers would come to recognize and rely on that power. We have not been left defenseless in this world. We have not been left to fend for ourselves. The very same power that raised Christ from death to life is available to us each and every day of our lives. And the Holy Spirit gives life to our mortal, earthly bodies. This is not just a reference to some future event when we will be give new, resurrected bodies in heaven. It is talking about the here and now. Jesus said that He had come to give us life more abundantly. The Spirit makes that possible. Jesus also declared, “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)” (John 7:38-39 NLT). The Spirit within us is a source of power and life.
But far too often, we find ourselves still operating in our own strength and limited to our own feeble energy. We miss out on the abundant life that Jesus promised. We feel helpless against our own sin nature and can’t seem to put to death the natural, sinful passions that still well up inside us at times. All because we fail to recognize and avail ourselves of the power available to us through the Holy Spirit. So Paul prayed that we would understand this great power given to us directly from God. But Paul wasn’t interested in us having an intellectual understanding of the Holy Spirit. He wanted it to be practical, helpful, and life transforming. As believers we must wake up to the reality that we have God’s power within us. We have Christ, sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. And as members of the body of Christ, His Church, He has authority over us. In fact, Christ has authority over ALL things. We have an all-powerful heavenly Father who loves us and has His best in store for us, an all-powerful Savior who is some day coming back for us, and an all-powerful Holy Spirit who lives within us and is constantly transforming us into the likeness of Christ. Paul prayed that the reality of those things would become increasingly clear to us. Because when we discover the truth of those claims, we are able to live with hope, joy, peace, patience, endurance, love and power.
Father, I confess that far too often I live in my own feeble strength, then wonder why things don’t turn out quite like I was expecting. I fail to understand that this life was not meant to be lived in my own strength. If I could do it on my own, I wouldn’t need You and there would have been no need for Your Son to die. But He did. And I need the power that He has made available. As Paul prayed, I ask that You would give me spiritual wisdom and insight. Help me see You at work around me and in me. Help me understand, appreciate and tap into the power You have made available to me. Give me an eternal perspective that views the world through Your eyes and not mine. Never let me forget that Jesus is in control of ALL things, and I have no reason to worry, fret, doubt, or despair. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men