Ephesians 1:15-20 (the message)
That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you — every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask — ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory — to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him — endless energy, boundless strength!
All this energy issues from Christ…
These verses, especially this prayer Paul prayed on behalf of the Ephesian believers, have become rooted into my life. My personal prayer has been that God would make me intelligent and discerning in knowing Him. That my eyes would be focused and clear so that I can see exactly what it is He is calling me to do and that I would do so in His endless energy and boundless strength. This prayer has so impacted me that a while back I got out a little piece of paper and jotted down, in order of priority, the things I feel in my heart God is calling me to do. I keep that little piece of paper in my Bible.
See, I am not a type A personality. My natural personality is what is described as sanguine…loves to talk and socialize and have fun…not so interested in self-discipline and things of that nature! Now I was a nurse for 12 years and that was hard work (all my nurse friends say Amen!). It was demanding in every sense…emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually if you had the eyes to see that component. But on my days off I was not one to get much done. I would sleep late and then read most of the day. Once I had my first daughter that changed to a large degree, of course, but I still thought that I had to have my 2 or 3 hours of “me time” every day as she napped. Of course new moms do need sleep and all moms need some “down time” to recharge their battery. That isn’t what I’m saying. I was just a little too far gone in that area and honestly I would feel irritated at the end of the day as I realized some of the things I neglected to do as I had my “me” time. Fast forward to child number two and that changed quite dramatically! There just was no time left for the long naps and Oprah! Slowly, over time, God has led me out of all of that “me time” into more responsibility and influence. It’s been and continues to be a new frontier for me. It has bloomed out of my need for Jesus…a need and desperation that has been changing the very course of my life.
My motives in seeking God were not for awakening my dreams or finding my purpose. My hunger wasn’t for influence or roles or even leaving my nursing career behind. The thing that got me out of bed and prodded me to follow and obey was utter dissatisfaction with myself. I knew I wasn’t the mother I could be or the mother that would help produce the best in my kids. I knew that I wasn’t the stable spouse that could be part of a healthy marriage. I wasn’t always the friend I should have been. And underneath it all, I knew that my relationship with God, my “walk” with Him, was just not the life-changing, reach out to others , white-hot passion for my Savior. I think I kept trying to conjure that up because I wanted to be that way, but really I find that you can’t conjure that up. You can only fall onto your face in complete desperation with your neediness spilling out onto His feet and let Jesus do His work.
As time has passed and my relationship with God has changed I continue and will forevermore be on a new frontier. Well, that is my prayer…that I’ll always be hungry enough for Him that He can lead me forward. But today, as I have been cleaning my house for hours (not a weekly event), I sense God whisper to my heart “stay needy.” And I so love this God I serve that knows me so well. See, He knows that as I walk this journey I need to be ever conscious of my need for Him. Remember the girl I described above…the one with the high priority for me time every day? She has been stripped down quite a bit and now finds she must cling to this prayer that God would make clear to her what He is asking of her. On this new frontier I do not want to take on more than He asks nor do I want to become comfortable in my ability to fulfill what He asks of me. I am very much aware that I have no ability. Not the kind that is required for what He asks of me. And isn’t that just like Him? If you know Jesus, then you probably know that He will eventually lead you into a place where you are, in your own ability, over your head! God will take you into a place where you and He both know without Him filling and enabling you it will fall apart. I think He likes it like that! It keeps us close and utterly amazed at what He can do through very ordinary people when they realize it’s no longer “me” time but His time.
So, for me tonight the last part of the scripture above is just the reminder I needed. It jumped out at me! “All this energy issues from Christ…” That prayer I keep close to my heart…the one where I need His endless energy and boundless strength to walk in the ways He calls me to…that energy issues from Christ. Bottom line…I must stay needy for Jesus. I can only ever be what He asks of me in every area of my life as I am close to Him receiving what He wants to give to me. Perhaps one of the greatest prayers we can pray is just that: Jesus, help me to stay needy.