The Power that Works within Us
Eph 3:20,21 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Whatever we can think of or imagine, God can do more. Whatever we may be able to ask God for, He can do exceedingly abundantly above that.
Can we dream of being like Jesus Christ in character, temperament, self-c0ntrol, love, discipline or wisdom? Can we ask for that? God is able to do it, even to a greater degree than we can imagine.
But when we ask, we must ask in faith.
James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. ” (Mark 11:24)
We must be sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. We do not see it with our eyes, but we may yet see it dimly with our imagination. But if we have no idea of what we are asking for, how can we have faith for it? How can we be sure of something when we don’t know what that thing is? “Faith is the substance of THINGS hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). There must be some internal representation in our hearts and minds of what we are believing for, however dim, because if not, we cannot say that we are believing for anything. And I would say that the clearer our understanding is of what exactly asking God for, the sharper and more potent our faith will tend to be. If we don’t know what we are asking for, how can we even know if God answers the request?
Therefore, we do well to meditate on what our answers from God will look like. We are not so much concerned with HOW He will do the miracle – that is His business, but rather WHAT the miracle, once complete, will look like.
What are we going to concentrate our faith on? I believe we can go for many good things, and we should, but if we neglect the MOST IMPORTANT thing, the one which most faith preachers do NOT concentrate on, then we could be great eternal losers, though we gain the world with our faith. The thing we need, more than anything, is TO BE LIKE JESUS. Like Jesus in love, faithfulness, wisdom, dedication, purity AND in capacity to bless. We should not seek first the capacity to bless others above the character attributes that God puts a much higher price on. Neither should we be so selfish that all we care about is to be pure and isolated Christian monks who never serve the needs of a dying world in any meaningful or relevant way. Jesus was both inwardly and outwardly complete. His works showed forth the glory of God, but He was far more than His works. It is the character of Christ that we must treasure. Let us use our faith to take hold of that!
What would conformity to the image of Christ look like for you? What would it look like for me? We should think much about THIS, because this is the declared purpose of God for us – much more so than outward prosperity or capacity to perform or do for God. God is more interested in forming the character of Christ in us than in us doing amazing things for Christ. That is why the Great Commission is not complete after 2000 years. There are few people who take the Great Commission really seriously, but amongst all of those, even fewer are fully committed to God’s higher priority, which is to make us like Jesus a lot more than we are. May God help us to align ourselves with God’s purpose, that we might truly ENTER life and that we might be SECURE IN HIM.
I believe I know how to reach the whole world with the gospel, but so far God has not released the necessary money to me. In fact, He has allowed me to lose the money that could have gone a long way towards doing it. I am certain that the only way to explain this is that He did not want me to do this the way I am. Therefore I am thinking and writing on this subject of Christlikeness, because its what I need, and my lack of it is the stumblingblock towards the fulfilling of my outward call in reaching people with the Gospel of God. I suspect a similar thing may apply to many others.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus and seeing who He is in the gospels, in the Word and in us would be really important for our proper faith development towards this important goal.
God says that he can do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKS IN US.
I have been concerned about the power that works through me or that comes upon me, and I have seen this power work in the healing of the sick and the casting out of demons.
To a lesser extent I have been concerned about the power that works IN me. I am now asking God to work powerfully in me, to change me. I cannot do it myself, but HE can, and He will, if invited. Let us invite Him. To the extent that we are sincere, to that extent Christ also will do it.
Let God’s power work mightily IN us. The way God will work OUTSIDE of us or THROUGH us is limited to the extent to which we allow and desire that power to work IN us. How do I know? Because the verse says, “… according to the power that works IN US”. God is able to do according to that. To do more than that would be to violate his own self-imposed principles.
This is the way we will see God’s glory in the church, which is the people of God (verse 21). It will happen to all generations who allow the power of God to work IN them. The tragedy of church history has been that too often the church allowed some other power to work in them than the power of God. And to this extent, God’s true glory was not known in the church.
May God give us a renewed passion for His glory in the church.