This morning for my daily devotional I was reading through Ephesians 3. I was led first to verses 14-20, which is a prayer for spiritual strength given by Paul to those who were struggling with the issue of inclusion of the Gentiles into what was once a closed Jewish faith.
As Paul talked about bowing before God in prayer, I could not help but think about the incredible daily opportunity we have to bring our needs, requests, prayers, thoughts, and reflections to God. There have been many times in my own life I have overlooked the importance of praying for spiritual strength, and in these times I trusted in myself. Sometimes this belief in self has led me in paths away from the leading of the Spirit. It is the Spirit which brings right direction, clarity, peace of mind, and hope.
In the passage, Paul speaks about the inner being of the person being renewed by the power of the Spirit. In a generation which prizes humanism, we often neglect to acknowledge the power of the Spirit in our inner beings. People may think they have strength of their own without realizing this “self” strength actually comes from God. The origin of strength is God.
Paul further goes on to pray for Christ to dwell in the heart through faith. This is another important concept we can gain understanding from. It is faith which allows Jesus Christ to come into our hearts. Faith is the beginning of relationship. Trust is the bridge. Paul then adds a qualification to the dwelling of the Spirit. Paul says “being rooted and grounded in love.” As Christians and leaders, we must have love in our foundation. Our mission and purpose must come from a heart and mind of love. To speak truth without love is dangerous.
Paul then asks to have the strength to comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth. This statement leads me to think about the mysteries of God. For many years I have gone to the Word of God hoping to find the answers to the mysteries. I have searched in the scriptures for understanding, and have sought to learn more and more. My desire to know more of God leads me to question and be comfortable with the “Why.” I have not always found the answers, but I have found relationship. I have not always been able to explain the why, but I have found relationship. Maybe the point of Paul’s statement is to acknowledge the incredible vastness of God. Words cannot even comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depths of God. We can search our entire life, and still we will live with the mystery of God, because the greatness of God is beyond our understanding.
Then Paul talks about the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, and the opportunity to be filled with the fullness of God. This tells me what I should be striving for is not more knowledge, but more relationship. Our relationship with God is more important than our learning. The objective is to be filled with the fullness of God. This way every part of our being, inner and other can be filled with the Spirit. We can have the Spirit in the very core of our being. Then, our hope will not be in self, but in the power and love of God.
Paul ends the prayer for spiritual strength by acknowledging again the greatness of God. Paul says our God can do more than we can ask or think. Paul says this same greatness is working within us, to bring us the spiritual strength we need. He then ends the prayer by giving praise again, and all glory to God.
Today, we can have the spiritual strength we need. We can be changed and transformed by the One who has all power and strength. If you are feeling weak today, and need strength, come to God in prayer. Ask for spiritual strength. Ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
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