Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I grew up across the street from a small electrical generating station that was crucial to the powering of homes in our entire neighborhood. If it was struck by lightning (and it was on occasion), or some other catastrophe happened to shut it down, we would be without power for our heat, refrigeration, lights, and more. Every day I walked to school, I would walk past that little station. It was always humming, always making a sound that said, “I’m working, and because I’m working, so is your toaster.”
Power is needed for living; we all know it. So how can we best get the personal power we need in a way that doesn’t shoot us in the foot in the long run? Every day, people are experimenting with different kinds of personal power sources, and idols innumerable are offering their energy-generating potential at discount prices. When we do find our personal, portable power source in Christ, the spiritually cleanest and most efficient energy source a soul can find (we were made for it, by design), there are energy-thieves at every turn seeking to steal or choke off what the Spirit provides.
In this passage in Ephesians, as in other passages, Paul is connecting the coming of power to our inner being to the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. What is it, specifically, that Paul thinks we need power for?
First, we need power so that “Christ may dwell in” our “hearts through faith.” Faith is a state of being where we are putting our highest hopes in a God we cannot see. When we walk in forgiveness, compassion, wisdom, understanding, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control, it is like we are lighting up with the energy source of the Holy Spirit for living. When we walk in shades of the power-stealing ways of unforgiveness, a lack of mercy, ignorance, hatred, despair, unrest, impatience, unkindness, self-absorption, or lack of self-control, it’s like we are draining our energy and the lights begin to flicker. Faith takes power, and yet power generates power when we trust Jesus as the indwelling Energizer of our Soul.
Secondly, we need power “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” and we need power “to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Apprehending our belovedness and the belovedness of others, Paul is saying, takes something beyond ourselves. The Spirit gives us the capability, the resource we need, to perceive God’s love and to revel in it. The more we revel in the love God has for us, the more we light up with the energy source of the Holy Spirit for living. When we forget the fullness of Jesus’ love for us, we flicker and, in some cases, flame out entirely.
The work of awakening begins in us, and we will need power to change, and power to become like Jesus in this world. According to this passage, the Spirit empowering our faith, and our awareness of love, is the key to moving ahead.
We are in discipleship training all along the way. Virtue takes an inner olympian training, and the Spirit of Jesus is our coach. We are being energized to experience change and love, in order that we might become agents of change and love in the world. The latter follows the former. We are being changed to change, loved to love.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. If I am drawing on other personal power sources that are cutting me off from your best provision, reveal these to me so I can repent and turn again to you as my source. Come, Holy Spirit, give me power today to live in faith and in full awareness of your love—for myself and for those around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What kind of spiritual energy do you need right now, and where are you finding it?
For the awakening,