That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
(Ephesians 1:19b-23 NIV)
When we left off last time, the Apostle Paul was praying that the Ephesian church would know Christ, and the hope, inheritance, and the power that Christ gives to each of them to live out their lives for Christ.
Paul essentially ended his prayer, and now moves on to remind the Ephesians what they already knew – the power and authority that Christ has, and is also available to each of them (and to us).
Let’s take a moment and consider what Paul is saying in these verses – these are not just words on the page – this is incredibly profound, and life-changing once we understand Paul’s thoughts.
First of all, Paul reminds the Ephesians (and us) that the power we have available to us to live our lives for Christ is the same power that raised Christ from the dead (vv. 19b-20a).
Did you catch that? Let me repeat it one more time…
We have the same power available to us to live our lives for Christ that raised Jesus from the dead for eternity!
How much power is that? That is God-sized power – something that had never been done in the history of the world! People had been raised from the dead, like Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, and others, but it was temporary, because they died again. But Jesus was raised from the dead once for all, never to die again.
Let’s stop here, and understand what having that power that means to us:
First, that same power that raised Christ from the dead will one day overcome death for us who are Christ followers, and take us to heaven to be with Jesus. That gives us hope for eternity future.
Secondly, this same power that can raise Christ from the dead can change our life to be more Christ-like. When we weigh our struggles in this life to the “big stuff” of raising Christ from the dead, our struggles are all “small stuff” in comparison to what God did for Christ:
- struggling with fears? small stuff.
- fighting physical issues, like health problems? small stuff.
- money / financial issues? small stuff.
- strained / broken relationships? small stuff.
- pride / ego / lack of humility? Hmmm…. wow… nope, still small stuff.
Now we need to stop and take note that this does not mean that God will fix all our problems, to give us a life of comfort and convenience. Remember, our life as a Christ follower does not consist of gathering blessings for ourselves and the ones we love. Instead, our lives are to be about giving Him the glory for the hope we have of spending eternity with Him because of what He did to provide eternal life for us – giving His own life in place of ours – and sharing the Good News with others around us.
Paul goes on to tell us that God placed Jesus in supreme authority over everything in the universe – over angels, demons, mankind, political rulers, business leaders, religious figures, everything and everyone, from eternity past to eternity future. There is nothing and no one that is not under Christ’s authority.
Finally, Paul reminds us that God placed Jesus over the church, as the head, the authority. As head of the church, Jesus provides everything we need to live out our calling in Christ – He empowers us to live the Christ-centered life, giving us everything we need to live out our faith in every way.
Let’s be clear here – we don’t need to ask for more of God – He is not holding back on us. When we come to Christ, we have everything that we will ever need to live for Christ.
The question is, will we live for Him, to be in step with what He is doing, where He is going, and how He is ministering in this word, or will we simply try to use His power to selfishly gain more blessings for our own comfort and convenience?
The hope of more blessings in this life are fun for a bit, kind of like cotton candy at the carnival. Blessings in this life are to appetizers of something much better to come in the next life, not the main dish to give us power to get through the day.
May we seek God’s power to fully live for Him and Him alone.