It’s a wonderful thing to know Jesus as our friend. Yet, sometimes we become so enamored with relating to Jesus as our friend that we forget who this friend really is. Ephesians 1:19-23 serves as a corrective to our tendency to reduce Jesus to merely a nice guy, someone to hang around with… The Jesus who is our friend is also the One who is seated with God the Father in Heaven, exalted above all other powers in the universe.
Ephesians 1 says that the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us. This does not mean, however, that we can control this power. The power of God is not like the Force in Star Wars, something we can learn to manipulate. Rather, we have access to God’s power because God dwells in us and among us through the Holy Spirit. God determines how his power will be used in our lives.
Jesus was attentive… Attention-giving can be especially difficult in a culture where attention-getting is so highly valued. Being attentive can be hard amidst Facebook posts, work deadlines, and endless emails. But numerous opportunities to join God in his kingdom work abound daily for those who cultivate a lifestyle of attentiveness to God’s will, to self-care, and to others’ needs.
What can we expect to learn from Jesus about communicating in a modern world, when he didn’t have to compete for the attention of people immersed in emails, podcasts, text messages, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, and emerging virtual reality technologies? Can growing our skills of attentiveness help us connect with people who give their attention to these powerful technologies?
He created us in his image, calling us to be fruitful and multiply, to work so that the world might be filled… But God also created play. He made us with the capacity to jest, to dance, to laugh. The example of Leviathan encourages us to enjoy life, to do things that are not necessarily productive in the ordinary sense, though they are productive of delight, health, and community. Our playfulness reflects the creative intentions of our playful God.
God’s power is for us, for our benefit, for our salvation, for our empowerment to participate in God’s work of redeeming all creation. Not only is God’s power given to us through the Spirit, but also God’s power is consistently working to help us who trust in him. The more we know God, the more we will know that he is using his incomparably great power for us, for our good as well as for the good of all things.
[P]ower, energy, might, and strength. Why is Paul heaping up the synonyms? Because he wants to underscore the exceeding greatness of God’s power, what the NIV rightly renders as “his incomparably great power.” To put it more casually, God’s power is really, really, really, really great. Did you catch that? God’s strength is mighty strong. God’s power exceeds our ability to grasp it, not to mention find words to represent it.
What is this inheritance? We are! You and I and all of God’s people are his inheritance. What we learned in verse 11 about being God’s inheritance is reiterated here in verse 18. Paul prays that we know God, and, in particular, that we know we are God’s own inheritance. Of course, in a very real sense we already belong to God. But, when we finally stand in his presence, we will be fully his people. God will claim us as completely his own, in the presence of his holy angels.
In his prayer for the recipients of Ephesians, Paul asks that we might know God better, in part by knowing “the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Paul wants us to know that we are participants in some astounding inheritance, and he prays to that end. For sure, he’s not trying to steal anything from us. Rather, Paul wants us to know what we truly have to look forward to in the future.
Is your team ideologically diverse? Can you say that each of your team members brings a unique flavor to the work? Do all your team members feel respected, valued, and appreciated as they are, or do they feel the need to assimilate to the dominant culture? As the leader of the vision, you should ensure that all your team members feel welcomed and supported as they are—not as you would prefer them to be.