Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Abundantly beyond - Ephesians 3:20-21

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Too often, we limit God by viewing Him through the lens of our own weaknesses, limitations, and powerlessness. Our estimation of God is limited by what we can perceive, imagine, and by what we count as reasonable and possible. Instead of viewing God as greater than ourselves, we view Him as one of us; subject to the same limited possibilities as we ourselves are. This limited view of God often effects our hope, faith, and prayers. For example, when faced with difficulties and trials, we often pray for relief and for a cessation of the trials we face. However, God is able to do so much more, not only to bring an end to our suffering but to even rise us above our circumstances and to cause us to rule and reign in life through Christ. We just want to feel better but Christ wants us to overcome and live a totally victorious life. Sometimes we need to dream bigger, believe greater, and hope further than our minds can conceive of imagine. We need to begin to practice believing in the "more abundantly" of God.

This super abundant ability of God is exercised through the limitless power of God that dwells within us. This power within is more than mere human effort and strength of will, it is of divine origin and is representative of the very person and nature of Christ. Paul refers to this power when he speaks of, "the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 1:19-20) This power that dwells within is nothing other than that same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Within us is the same resurrection power that was in Jesus when He concurred the grave and rose to everlasting life. When we consider the great quality of this power within, we must admit that there is no problem, no need, no want that this power cannot provide or overcome. Regardless of what our need is, the resurrection power of Christ is more than sufficient to meet it and surpass it. God desires not only to meet our needs, but to fill them with resurrection life!

This power within us is more than the sum of our spiritual gifts and the power to effect change and work miracles in the live of those around us. It is the power to change us and, through our changed lives, to change the world around us. Paul speaks of this transformation when he says, "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2) Here, the Greek word translated as "transformed" is the same word from which we get our word for metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is the process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. It represents a whole and complete change from one thing into another. The power of Christ that dwells within dwells that we might be totally transformed from the inside outward until we fully and plainly reflect Christ with our lives. It is for this transformation that we have been saved. Paul reminds us that, "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son." (Romans 8:29)

This power and this transformation are for His glory; that He might be glorified for the work of power that He works in and through us. Not only is He to find glory in us, but also in His church that consists of those who likewise possess this power within and who are also be transformed into His image day by day. This begs the question, in what do we glory in our church? To what do we point to as the glory and power when describing our church to others? Is it our worship, our pastor, our doctrine, or our services and outreaches to others? What do we see as the defining characteristics of our church? Paul says that that which we ought to glory in is Christ. When we look at our church it ought to be the power of Christ working in, through, and among us that ought to give us pause to glory. It is this power of Christ that we ought to point others to as the reason we join together as one body in Christ. Everything else ought to be secondary to our glorying in Christ. In the end, it is not our preaching, our services, our worship, or even our doctrine that will change people but the power of God that is ready to indwell them. It is to this that we ought to point their attention, not the trappings of men.

David Robison

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