Pondering Ephesians 1: 19b-23
This Week’s Passage: That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
This is what I’ve been thinking about this week… “That power”. Paul says that the same power that raised Christ from the dead and then exalted Him to the heavenly realms is available to believers and to the Church. So where is “that power?” To be quite honest I don’t see it manifested in the lives of many believers or in the work of many churches. I don’t see it manifest in my own life. So here are the questions I’ve been thinking through:
1) What would this power look like in the life of a believer – in other words, how would it present itself?
As I peruse the book of Acts and think back on the 4 gospels here are the things that are readily apparent:
Boldness in speaking, preaching, and praying – All of these are evident in Acts 4. I especially love Acts 4:13. This verse kind of sums up for me what power in the life of a believer looks like to unbelievers: “When they say the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Where is the astonishment that seemed to follow these guys around after Pentecost?
Transformed Lives – You don’t have to look far in both the gospels and the Book of Acts to find people who’s lives were radically changed. As people came in contact with Spirit empowered believers their lives were never the same. Can that be said about me? Can that be said about us?
Miracles – Do miracles still happen? I believe they do! But we see so few things that can only be explained by a miraculous work of God that we have gotten to the point that we don’t expect God to do the miraculous. Shame on us as the people of God. You certainly see the miraculous happening in the gospels and Acts.
2) Why are so few believers filled and fueled by the power of God?
- There is little dependence upon God – Here in American we have been trained from the time that we were pups to depend upon our ourselves – our money, our talents, our personality, our family, our intellect. We have never really had to depend solely upon God and therefore have never learned how to depend upon God. God’s power is thwarted by our independence.
- Unconfessed sin and unrepentant hearts short circuit the power supply and bewilder the Power Supplier – Unfortunately we tend to have a high tolerance for sin. I include myself in this statement. We have view of God that says God is a forgiving God therefore I can do whatever I want and He will still love me and forgive. We take lightly the parts of the Bible that talk about God’s hatred for sin because of His absolute holiness and we gloss over the idea that “we were by nature objects of wrath.” Because of this we deal with sin like we deal with clutter. We let it build up until we can’t stand it anymore then try to clean it all all up – then let it start building up again. Did you catch that phrase, “until we can’t stand it?” We need to understand that sin is something that God cannot stand – therefore we need to deal with it immediately and turn in horror away from it.
- A hunger for soul empowering food has been replaced by a ravenous hunger for worldly things – There seems to be little hunger for the Word of God among believers. Our appetites have been satisfied by other things – much like junk food has filled our bellies but added little to no nutritional value. We need to develop a craving for the pure spiritual milk of the Word. (1Peter 2:2)
3) How can I be a Spirit empowered believer?
The answer to this flows pretty naturally out of the last question if we buy into the reasons we are so powerless. To sum it up in for me my action steps would go something like this: 1) Become a man who knows how to pray – then to pray as often as I breathe, 2) Worship God in the splendor of his holiness so that I see sin the way that He sees sin, 3) Wean myself away from the things that give me more satisfaction than God and His Word.
It’s not rocket science. It just will take willful intent. Do I want to live a power fueled life or am I content to be content with the way that I am? Do I want “that power” flowing through my spiritual veins… or not? Hmmmm.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 2:1-5