Isaiah 44:9-45:10; Ephesians 3:12-21; Psalms 68:19-31; Proverbs 17:14-15
NT: “For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us — to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21 CSB)
This is the second of two prayers that Paul offered on behalf of the Ephesians. The first prayer, found in Ephesians 1:15-23, was a prayer for understanding. Paul prayed that the Ephesians would know and understand what Christ had accomplished for them and who they were in Christ. In this prayer, Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be equipped and enabled to live according to who they were in Christ.
When Paul wrote, “for this reason…” he was referring to the mystery of God that had been revealed to him – that Gentiles and Jews alike are welcomed into the family of God through faith in Christ. Because the Gentiles in Ephesus were 100% a part of God’s chosen family, Paul had no second thoughts about boldly approaching the Father and praying this prayer – for all that Paul prayed for is accessible to any and all who are part of the family of faith.
First Paul prays that the family of faith would be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit… and that strengthening would occur as Christ dwells in our hearts through faith. The word translated as dwell has to do with settling in and influencing. Is our heart a welcome place for Christ to settle, or would He be uncomfortable there? As we offer our lives fully to the Lord in faith, He will influence our lives and make Himself at home through the leading and conviction of the Holy Spirit. That in turn will strengthen us with power.
Second, Paul prayed that the family of faith would be rooted (firmly affixed and established) and firmly established (stably grounded on a good foundation) in love (agape). Love is the foundation for our life in Christ: loving God completely, and sacrificially loving others as Christ loved us. Paul wasn’t talking about the fleeting feeling of love, he was talking about the long-lasting covenantal choice to love. The love of God to us in Christ Jesus is immeasurable and incomprehensible, yet we are able to know that love experientially as we allow that love to flow to us and through us. If we allow agape love to be the foundation of our lives through faith, we will do what the Lord has called us to do and won’t be easily moved from the purposes of God.
Finally, Paul prayed that the family of faith would be filled with all the fullness of God. What a request that is! The Bible explains that not even heaven can contain the fullness of God, yet Paul asked that God would fill us (finite human beings) with His fullness. What is not possible in the natural is possible in the spiritual – for as we are filled with the Holy Spirit, all the fullness that is found in God is found in us.
Is God able to answer that request of Paul? Yes, He is – for God is able to do far more than we can ask or even imagine. Is God willing to answer that request of Paul? Yes, He is – for God desires to be fully glorified through the Church.. and for the Church to fully glorify Him, the Church needs to be strengthened, rooted, established and filled. The bigger question is, are we willing?
Psalms: “Blessed be the Lord! Day after day he bears our burdens; God is our salvation. Selah Our God is a God of salvation, and escape from death belongs to the Lord my Lord… People have seen your procession, God, the procession of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. Singers lead the way, with musicians following; among them are young women playing tambourines. Bless God in the assemblies; bless the Lord from the fountain of Israel. There is Benjamin, the youngest, leading them, the rulers of Judah in their assembly, the rulers of Zebulun, the rulers of Naphtali. Your God has decreed your strength. Show your strength, God, you who have acted on our behalf.” (Psalms 68:19-20, 24-28 CSB)
Other translations translate verse 19 as “Blessed be the Lord! Day after day He loads us with benefits. The key word in that passage is ‘amac’ which means to load or to carry a load, so both translations are correct. Daily, the Lord bears our burdens and loads us down with benefits. What a trade off! Because of that, God is worthy of our praise – from the whole family of faith. As we bless the Lord with our praise and offer our lives before Him in worship, God decrees and shows forth His strength in and through His people.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You, not only for who I am in You, but that You strengthen me, root me, establish me and fill me to do all that You have called me to do in You. Lord, I welcome the equipping and enabling that You are fully willing and able to do in me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.