[Oct 24]—Another Prayer

            “For this reason” repeats the first words from yesterday’s passage. Paul was about to say what he says in today’s passage, but he had to pause for vss. 1-13 to ponder a mystery, namely the unity of the Church and our reconciliation with God and with each other.
            Now he gets back to the point he started in verse 1. “For this reason,” remember, refers back to the jaw-dropping truth that in Christ, Jew and Gentile are now one, that Gentiles--who'd been “far”--are now brought together with Jews--who were relatively “near”--are now united with each other in the Body of Christ.
            In view of this wonderful mystery we call God’s plan of salvation, Paul prayed for the Christians in Ephesus, but what he prayed for is something we all could use. Everyone this side of Glory could use this.
            What did he want for the Ephesians?
·         That out of his glorious riches he would strengthen them with power through his Spirit.

·         Why? Power to do what? Lift a car over our heads? No, in order that Christ might dwell in our hearts through faith. Of course, Christ came to live inside us through his Spirit at the moment of salvation. There’s no such thing as a Christian who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit inside them. The word "dwell" is translated from katoikeō in the Greek. It’s not a word for simply occupying a space. It’s a word that means living comfortably in a place you own or making a home for yourself. So the question is not “Do you have the Holy Spirit?” but “Does the Holy Spirit have you?” Or as someone pointed out to me long ago when I was a teenager, there’s all the difference in the world between the Spirit being resident and President. He lives inside every redeemed heart, but he’s only at “home” in a heart where he’s on the throne.

·         He also prayed that they, being rooted and established in love (the first among the Fruit of the Spirit and the “greatest” among the virtues), would together with all God’s holy people (that’s you and me), would be able to grasp something. Again, we need to change our perspective. Our view of the world is way too small. We need to get just a glimpse of “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” How wide is it? Wide enough to throw our sins are far away from us as the east is from the west. How long? From everlasting to everlasting. How high? It reaches up to the heavens. How deep is it? Deep enough for him to leave the Throne of Heaven, to come down to this pit of sin and death, pull us out, clean us off, and turn what he found there into sons and daughters.

·         He also wants us to not just know about this love. He wants us to know this love personally. The Lord Almighty, the One before whom angels shield their faces, the high and exalted One who “[lives] in a high and holy place” also wants to live with “the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit.” Paul wants us to “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Filled with his presence, filled with his love, and filled to the brim with his empowering grace.

·         Then he ends the theology-heavy section of Ephesians with praise, and in the midst of it he tells us something about our Lord. The One we serve “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ponder that for a moment. It’s not just that he’s able to do more than we ask. It’s not that he’s able to do more than we can imagine, which, like our desires, is theoretically limitless. No, he is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. And this is the power that is at work in us. Right now. This moment. We just have to tap into it.

·         It all comes back to his honor, his glory, his praise. The reason why the Church is here—the main purpose—is to provide honor and praise to our Savior God. Not just now, and not just in the generations to come, as important as that is. Forever and ever and ever. That’s what we’re here for, and I look forward to the day when I can do that perfectly.

      How’s about you?

Father, when I compare what I can do versus what you can do, it’s no contest. May the same power that raised your Son from the dead now fully be displayed in me, to your honor and glory and praise. Starting this moment, forever and ever and ever. In your Son’s name, Amen. 

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