Ephesians 3: 20-21 (NIV)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Last night I was reading a book by John Maxwell and came across the verse above. It’s a familiar verse in “church-world” and inspires us to believe and dream for all God can do in and for us. I think I have even used it in a post before, but last night as I was reading it kind of hit me a little differently.
Check out the first verse again…Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…
I think I have always narrowed in on the “more than all we ask or imagine” part and missed something until last night. Yes, God is certainly able (and I believe wants) to do more than we ask or imagine…to blow us away…and maybe we concede that it is by His power, not our own. But, all that He is able to do…so much more than we can imagine…is according to His power at work within us. There is a direct correlation between what He is able to do in our lives and the measure of His power that is at work within us.
More than we can ask or imagine living isn’t an outward work of God that kind of “lands” on us. Ephesians 3:20 declares God is able work in our lives according to His power at work within us…that means it’s internal. Just like being a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, becoming a true Christian, isn’t an outward position or life-change that comes to settle on us…it happens within us by His power. As we surrender to the love of God and yield to His call, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in our spirits…our hearts are changed…our lives begin to change because of the internal source of God’s power at work in our hearts.
Maybe you already “got” this! But for me, last night, it was like a light coming on. See, whatever changes you want to see in yourself or your life, whatever dreams you might be dreaming, whatever needs you are desperate to have met…God first wants us to allow His power to work within us. Yes, He certainly does still perform miracles but mostly I think He wants us to grow closer to Him, to give Him permission to work within us. As we allow His power to work within us, through the Holy Spirit, He is able to change us and heal us lead us into “more than we can ask or imagine.” Over and over and over again as we read His word and live life we discover it’s all about relationship. “Religion” will not bring on “immeasurably more” nor will the things that go with it…random church attendance, occasional obedience or trying to be good. A life of immeasurably more than we could have imagined comes about as we choose to live our lives in a relationship with the Creator. And I intentionally write “choose” because it is a choice. If you wait until you feel like it you probably won’t ever dive in. If you wait until you feel absolved from your past or even current sins and struggles before you surrender to Him you probably won’t ever live to your fullest potential. Relationship with Him is what brings your healing and forgiveness.
I think for most of my life, even as a church-attending Christian, I just kept waiting for God to move on my life in some way that would enable me to live passionately for Him without me having to really do anything differently. Somehow I thought that a mental nod to His “lordship” in my life actually meant He was my Lord. That because I said He was my Lord that meant He was…not so much! Having someone be Lord in your life means they are in charge! Honestly, I would say I resisted that kind of living for a long, long time. It does not sound fun. It sounds scary and impossible for a mere ordinary girl like me. And it is…except that surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus means I am not in charge of making it happen. He is. As the Holy Spirit is given permission to be “at work” within me, my only job is to respond. Respond is a more pleasant way of saying…obey. I know…I know…the inner cringe at the word obey. Obeying God sounds so…old testament. Makes me smile, though, because old-testament obeyers were hall of fame kind of folks. They were far from perfect (lies, murder, adultery, cowards, etc) but their lives amounted to much more than they could have asked or imagined! Abraham, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Deborah, David…just a few lives that dared to dream and obey…to step out into an unknown land, to build a big boat when the earth had yet to see rain, to lead a couple million folks from captivity, to take up the fight and actually lead the people into their promise and declare “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”, to dare to believe an angel who would call the runt of the family litter a mighty warrior, a woman who would fulfill her role in Israel’s history because God moved in her to lead, and a ruddy shepherd-boy who would shepherd the people of Israel as their king, all the while still panting after God “as a deer pants for water.”
Are you moved? Can you sense it? You are meant for more than mediocrity! As God created you, He planted a seed of greatness and purpose in you…a passion and purpose that will bring you fulfillment that blows you away…much more than the mundane drudgery life can so easily become. Do you long for a life of “more?” More love, more acceptance, more grace, more mercy, more healing, more joy, more peace, more purpose, more heart-rest? I can barely contain the urgency as I write! If you have asked Jesus Christ to come into your life…if you are ready to really make Him Lord…surrender and trust…follow as He leads…then you are in for a life of more! Because He is More! The more you really get to know Jesus, the more room you give His Spirit to work in your life, the more you will see Him bring into your life more than you can ask or think or imagine…according to His Spirit at work within you. Invite Him to be at work within you. Your purpose and potential in God is waiting…