“Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (NET)
I love this passage of Scripture, but it also disturbs me, or maybe I should say greatly concerns me.
Paul has just concluded his prayer to God for the Ephesians, asking specifically for a variety of things (as recorded in Ephesians 3:14-19, which is a bountiful study within itself!), and then he closes that prayer with this “hymn of praise” or as it’s commonly called a doxology.
This particular doxology is essentially a celebration that God is a God of power – Almighty! Here are some or its rugged truths to heed:
- In verse 20 alone, Paul uses three terms to describe God’s power: He is “able” or maybe better to say “powerful” to do according to the “power”, which is “working” (and means “presently exerting energy”) in us now!
- This powerful God can do “far beyond “ or a better translation is “exceedingly in excess” of what we could ever “ask or think of”. That word “far beyond” is a word created by Paul to be a “super-superlative” attempting to describe all that God is capable of doing. Another intriguing translation of this word and phrase is by the NASB: “far more abundantly beyond what we could ask or imagine.”
- God chooses to accomplish these immeasurable feats “according to the power presently working in us”.
- Since God blesses us in this incredible manner, all the glory belongs to Him.
What is the proper response to such a description of our God? Obviously with praise and adoration for a God who is so described, but for me, it also raises troubling and piercing questions as I wrestle to understand and apply these truths to my life.
According to this passage:
- Powerlessness should never be a trait of a Christian. Never!
- We do not ask or dream big enough for God – He desires and is able to do so much more!
- The power of God is experienced in proportion to the power already at work in us! Notice this is the only limitation on God’s power, other than what is accomplished and done must be according to His will!
- Have we ever been guilty of robbing God of His due glory?
Do you see what I mean? I once heard a sermon on this passage, and the messenger said this: “This passage describes the potential of every Christian.”
I haven’t come close to achieving my potential yet. Have you?
As I read and study this passage, I confess:
- There are a multitude of times I feel powerless.
- I rarely ask God for great things anymore, oftentimes because I’m mired in the muck of today’s challenges, but also because at times I get frustrated by the unanswered prayers from all the previous yesterdays.
- I know God is working “in” me, but am I hindering him from the powerful work He really wants to do “in” me?
- And lastly, I have taken credit for things I know only God could’ve done.
Consequently, this is truly a passage that brings a response of awe from me as I reflect on the greatness and power of our God, but now do you see why this passage also greatly concerns me?
Maybe, especially during this week – holy week – instead of wallowing in the past and being greatly concerned, it’s time to remain rooted in God’s love, be filled with His Spirit (see v. 14-19 for this and more!) and begin to live again knowing that:
- He is able (powerfully able!);
- Start asking for the impossible from an able God;
- Live in a manner knowing truly the only limitation is God’s will!
And then maybe we could truly marvel as the power of God works through us.
And most of all, since all power is His, be ready to give all glory to Him.
Are you ready? I sure am. Amen!