20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)
Today, we take a look at the Apostle Paul’s closing thoughts in his prayer for the Ephesians. This is Paul’s doxology, his wish and blessing for the Ephesian church (and for us).
As we look at Paul’s closing remarks, Paul starts with the word “now”. So if there is a “now”, there must have been a “then” that the “now” is pointing toward. So let’s back up and look where Paul is looking.
Here is Paul’s reference:
- We are one family (v. 15),
- under Christ (v. 15),
- strengthened by God’s Holy Spirit (v. 16),
- held together by God’s love (v. 17),
- through faith in Christ (v. 17),
- empowered to serve God (v. 18),
- fulfilling God’s plan (v. 19).
Paul says, looking back to these points, “Now to Him who is able…” Paul says that if God can do everything in verses 14 through 19, then what else can God do? We can stop right there – that is amazing enough.
Now look what Paul says: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…”
Wow. Paul is telling us that God can far exceed our asks and even our imagination. Now that’s big. Remember, God has all the resources of the universe at His disposal !
So what else does Paul say? “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…”
So what does that phrase, “according to His power that is at work within us…” mean? Does that mean that God is stingy, and only gives us enough of His power to survive? Or does it mean that we must work really, really hard to earn God’s love and confidence so He will reward us? No. And no.
Instead, we must approach God in brokenness, humility, and repentance, admitting our inadequacy, allowing Christ to live in and through us. God then supplies His power to live out the purposes God has for us.
And why is all this happening? As Paul wraps up in verse 21, he tells us that all of this is for God’s glory. It’s not about us, it’s all about Him.
Is this a one-time thing, just in Paul’s day? Paul says it’s for all time, through all generations, stretching into eternity (v. 21). Now that is some kind of power – a God-sized power that lasts from eternity past to eternity future, and every moment in between. And that same power and sustainability is available for God to use through us, if we will let Him. Not for our selfish comfort and convenience, but for His glory.
May we, like Paul, kneel before the Father in praise and worship, in brokenness, humility, repentance, and love.