devotion 11-4-15

Ephesians 3.14-21

14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

For this reason – because we have access to God through Jesus Christ our Lord; because the wondrous mystery of God’s plan for all humankind has been made known through Jesus – for these reasons, Paul prays for the Gentile Christians in Ephesus. And what follows is to me one of the most beautiful passages in the scriptures.

He prays for strength in the inner being for his readers and hearers (we should not forget that the letters were read to the early churches, and this one more than some others, is a sermon), but such inner strength comes not by their/our own power, but through the power of the Spirit.

He prays that Christ may dwell in their/our hearts through faith, a faith that is grounded and rooted in love – like a tree growing by streams of water, a tree rooted in love is one that sends its roots deep into the soil of life, roots of love that hold on with tenacity to the love of God!

He prays that they/we may have the power to comprehend that love of Christ, in all its breadth and length, height and depth! And such power is not just for a few, but for all the saints, all the believers! I think of this passage when I look out at the ocean – how wide and how deep it is, and yet, the love of our Lord is wider and deeper still. Such a love surpasses knowledge, and yet he prays that they/we might know it – we know such love with more than our minds; we know this love in our hearts, in our inmost being. And when we know such love, we are filled with the fullness of God.

And then – he says a benediction to the prayer – to him (to God) who is able, by the power he has put within us, to accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine, to him belongs the glory, and the prayer is that the glory may continue through his church, to all generations, yes, even to us, forever and ever. Amen.

When we recognize God’s love, when love fills us with all the fullness of God, then God can do things through us that we cannot do alone. We stretch the envelope; we do the impossible; we trust God in all things. To be filled with the fullness of God’s love is what John Wesley called “perfection”.

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