Brick #49 – Ephesians 3:14-19

BbB 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

“For this reason” – Which reason is Paul talking about? Why is it that Paul is not only compelled to pray for his Ephesian friends but determined not to miss this opportunity to come to the Father on their behalf? Go back to verse 12: “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Paul is absolutely confident that God will not only hear his prayers but also answer his prayers. And what’s not to answer…

I mean look at what Paul is praying – he is praying that the Ephesians would be strengthened with POWER so that they would be fueled by faith and grasp how glorious is God’s love for them. What’s not to answer in a prayer like that. He is not praying for their safety or their health or their financial situation or their employment status or that they would be happy. He is praying that these Christians in Ephesus would experience from God something that would transform their lives on the inside not just change their circumstances on the outside. He is praying that the Ephesian believers would be radically changed so that the watching world would stand up and take notice.

I do not meet many believers who are fueled by the power of God and daily live faith-filled lives. I do not meet many believers who who have such a thorough, all-surpassing grasp of the love of God that that they are “filled to the measure of all the fulness of God.” I want to be one of those kinds of believers. What about you?

Brick #14: Galatians 2:20

BBBNew“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Here are the questions that this verse provokes me to keep asking and why this verse is worth a lot of intentional pondering:

  • What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?
  • Has my old sinful nature indeed been put to death (crucified)?
  • Is it evident that Christ is alive in me?
  • In what ways does my life (and my lifestyle) demonstrate that I am living by faith?
  • Do I daily treasure the fact that Christ loved me so much that He gave Himself for me?
  • Do I understand what the death of Christ has rescued me from?
  • How do I display my gratitude to Him for rescuing me?

I’ll make a few comments about the first question…

Being crucified with Christ means that we are no longer enslaved to sin. The power of sin over us has been broken. We are free NOT to sin and have been exonerated from the penalty of sin. (Romans 6:5-11)

Being crucified with Christ means that our passions and desires are no longer of a carnal nature but instead are fueled by the Spirit of God. Instead of corrupting us and leading us toward death, our passions and desires can now be used to lead others toward Life. (Galatians 5:22-24)

Being crucified with Christ means that living a successful life  has now been redefined. Instead of leading a life that promotes self and seeks worldly gain, we instead follow Jesus’ example of denying selfish ambitions and serving others for the glory of God. (Matthew 16:24-28)

Being crucified with Christ means that we are empowered to fight against sin, to fight for joy, and to persevere uncompromisingly even when life is hard and takes its toll on the faint of heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

John Piper has this to say about this verse:

There is a new “I”—I do still live. But look who it is. It is no longer an “I” who craves self-reliance or self-confidence or self-direction or self-exaltation. The new “I” looks away from itself and trusts in the Son of God, whose love and power was proved at Calvary. From the moment you wake in the morning till the moment you fall asleep at night, the new “I” of faith despairs of itself and looks to Christ for protection and the motivation, courage, direction, and enablement to walk in joy and peace and righteousness. What a great way to live!

May the Lord use this brick in your life to help you learn what it means to live a life of faith that is grounded in the magnanimous love of Christ displayed powerfully at the cross.

 

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