When we draw strength from the indwelling Spirit, we find peace and confidence that exceed our own capacity. We find compassion to love those who are otherwise unlovable. We find strength to serve and sacrifice in ways that imitate Jesus. The Spirit of God empowers us to minister in the church and in the world—wherever we are—in amazing ways, so that God’s purposes might be advanced through us.
Paul prays with confidence in God’s “glorious riches,” knowing that God has more than everything we need. No doubt, Paul remembers what he has revealed elsewhere in Ephesians: that we are forgiven “in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (1:7); that God is “rich in mercy” (2:4); that God might show “the incomparable riches of his grace” (2:7); and that the “riches of Christ” are “boundless” (3:8). If God is truly so rich in grace and mercy, then we can approach God in prayer with confidence, with boldness, even with joyful abandon.
If you want to live as a person fully alive, don’t focus on your failings as a Christian. And, whatever you do, don’t put on a fake happy face, pretending as if everything in your life is just fine. Guilt and inauthenticity won’t cut when it comes to showing the world the gracious wisdom of God. Rather, lean in to God’s grace, letting his grace transform you and inspire you. The more you are captivated by what God has done for you in Christ, the more you will be motivated to live a transformed life.
I realize that unity is not easily forged or maintained in our congregations. I also realize that immoral behavior and wrong belief can damage the unity of God’s people. So I don’t mean to sound naïve when suggesting that we should seek Christ-centered unity as the people of God. I know how hard this can be in practice. But the theology of Ephesians inspires us to seek unity in the church, even if this is a difficult challenge, and even if we’ll never get it perfectly right.
The sky was cloudless and blue, just like the sky on September 11, 2001, when two airplanes crashed into the two towers and thousands of lives were lost… Together, my husband and I stood at the edge of one of the pools of water that fall away forever, each pool surrounded by the names of those who lost their lives that day. Not far from one of the pools is the Survivor Tree. It’s a small tree that endured the destruction around it and was found, alive, in the midst of the rubble.
The more we recognize the centrality of the church in God’s plan, the more we will look differently at our lives and our participation in the church. We will understand that God has saved us not only for relationship with him but also for relationship with his people. In community with God and his people, we, the church of Jesus Christ, are to show the world—and, indeed, the entire cosmos—that God’s plan for restoring all things is working.
God’s grand plan for the universe, God’s mystery, God’s manifold wisdom, will be revealed to the whole cosmos, including supernatural powers, through the church. Through the church! Now that’s an unexpected twist in God’s mystery, if you ask me. I don’t find it intuitive to think of the church as playing such a central role in God’s plan for the cosmos. Yet, according to Ephesians 3:10, the church is right in the core of God’s redeeming, restoring, unifying work.
God has a finely-tuned sense of timing. He does not reveal everything to us all at once. But, like an expert mystery writer, he discloses in just the right time that which ought to be made known. Sometimes God’s timing can feel frustrating to us. But God is the master storyteller who avoids spoilers, unlike my friend John. God wants to engage us, to draw us into his story, not just as listeners or observers, but also as key characters in the narrative.
Based on the research of Forbes, Bezos is worth $112 billion, compared to the measly $90 billion of Gates. I find it hard to comprehend such riches. I wonder sometimes what I would do if I had that much money. But, this I know for sure, I don’t. Though I am blessed to live quite comfortably, I don’t think I’ll make the Forbes billionaire list anytime soon. But I am personally connected to the greatest wealth of all. And so are you, if you’re a follower of Christ.
The psalm writer is indeed asking God, without embarrassment or hesitation, to help him succeed. Does this mean I should do the same? Yes, I believe it does. Scripture encourages us to be honest with God, to say what’s truly on our hearts. If I really want God to help me to succeed at something I care about, then I have the freedom to speak openly to God about it. It’s not as if I can fake out God by hiding the desires God already knows are in my heart.