Today’s devotional is taken from Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul had just explained the awesomeness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being for all people, Jewish and Gentile alike. The simplicity of this wonderful Gospel is that Jesus Christ did all the work, because He is the only one who could. We do not deserve and cannot earn salvation. The Father loves us so profoundly, so immensely, and fully that He sent Jesus to live as an example, die for the forgiveness of sin, and overcome death to give us eternal life. Jesus gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit to indwell us and conform us to glorify God. It is free, we can’t be good enough, we can’t earn it, it is by grace through faith. We need only to believe Jesus is Christ and confess He is Lord (Romans 10:9). That is the Gospel and that is the reason that Paul could hope even from prison. That is the reason that we can hope regardless of the circumstances that surround us. I want to take a step back in the chapter and read Ephesians 3:10-13
so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
In the previous chapters and verses, Paul had established that we as Believers, sealed with the Holy Spirit are seated with Jesus and have authority and dominion and power over the spirits. Here he says that we are to become known to the rulers and authorities, that is we are to exercise that authority, walk in that power, and live in Christ Jesus to make Jesus name famous, to glorify God throughout the world, and live as the sons and daughters, chosen people, and royal priesthood that He made us to be. We can boldly approach His throne anytime we desire to do so, we can spend time with our Lord whenever we choose to and we can say what we want to ask what we want to, because His grace is great and His mercy His profuse.
Verses 14-15 reads,
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named
I don’t know about you, but I had to really ask what this statement meant. I didn’t just plainly understand it. This is what I found. Remember that in chapter 1 of Ephesians we are described as adopted into the Household of God, chosen before the foundations of the world and the workmanship of God created for good works. God means for every person to come to accept His adoption, but He has given us free will and therefore, only those who accept His invitation into His family are saved, but all of mankind was made for Him, all of mankind was given the invitation. Those of us who believe Him have not only been saved but adopted and given His name, become part of His family with all the awesomeness that position gives. His name, His Spirit, His authority, and His banner. Paul had hope through suffering in prison because he knew his position with Christ and he knew our position and he knew that everything he did and we do brings with it the opportunity to further God’s glory and bring more of the people God so dearly loves into our family.
And he knew that he wasn’t the only one suffering. Every person, every family has struggles, has difficulties, sadness, loss, and pain. But, in Christ we know that God is kind and He is also Almighty and Sovereign. Verse 16 reads,
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being
Knowing who God is and who we are in Him gives us strength. Knowing we can boldly and confidently speak to Him no matter the time or reason, knowing He knows us because we are His workmanship and therefore have the great potential of His creation and creativity, and knowing that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name (the name He gave us) will be given it is that which makes us strong, that makes us bold, that encourages us to live and love as Jesus lives and loves. The Holy Spirit is in us as the guarantee of all of this and the Wonderful Counselor who not only reminds us of the truth but creates a new person in us, the person of Jesus Christ who exudes true love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). His love is entrenched and ingrained into our being as we are conformed to the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit. His love is perfect, He is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends
Everything else goes away, our suffering, our gifts, and even the earth, but the love of Jesus is eternal and that is the love that the Holy Spirit is weaving in us, founding our new selves on, and allowing us to display and convey. Imagine what that love has done for you? Remember what someone showing you this kind of forgiveness, patience, and kinship did in your life? Love is powerful and we have the ability to love others as Jesus loved us. When people in my life have loved me the way Jesus loved me, I can tell you, barriers were destroyed and I broke out of the old me and became a whole new person. I came to grasp God’s love through the love of His family, my fellow believers. That is what verses 17-19 are saying.
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
To even begin to understand how the profundity and absoluteness of God’s love for us, we have to experience through His children filled with His Spirit, lighting the world with His truth and love. Years ago, I struggled with an extreme hate for myself. I truly thought no one loved me or could love me, I didn’t even think anyone could like me.
I had been attending my church for several years and loved God and knew He loved me, yet constantly fought with the idea of what that love meant. My church family loved me and showed it, but I constantly fought with this truth, believing that no one could really love the horrible person I was. But one evening as I headed home from church after an amazing time of prayer, God overwhelmed me, truly His Spirit enveloped me like a hug and I was so filled with pure joy I had to pull the car over. I sat there in my car feeling God’s love and hearing His words, “You are loved. You are my masterpiece and worth loving.” Tears flowed like a peaceful rushing river down my face as I basked in God’s love and the realization that His love is more than a far-off warm fuzzy feeling but a real demonstrated, knowable, and demonstratable thing. A verb, a noun, and bigger than I had realized, bigger than someone who does not know Him can know without Him. I was filled with the Holy Spirit at that moment, filled to bursting, inundated and inundating with God, who is Love and who loves perfectly.
That love does not sit idle within us. That love is lively, active, vibrant, and vigorous. Love, The LORD God is at work. He is able and so are we because of Him, because of His love. The love that sent Jesus to the cross, the love that forgives every horrible sin, the love that rejoices over each person, the love that made you and created the universe, that love is working, functioning and thriving within you and me. Verses 20-21 say it this way,
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
God is awesome! The word awesome means so much more than our culture has credited it with. Awesome means to terrible and dreadful, to inspire awe, to make one feel awe, fear, to take your breath away. It’s not cool or chill it is too wonderful, so astounding that your mind and spirit are unable to imagine or fathom it and so can only be in awe, fall down and worship. He, His ways, and His power are so far more than we are capable of or even can begin to imagine Him or what He can do. Just stretch your faith, broaden your vision, and extend your mind and ask God whatever, because He can do it and He will. Because as Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-11,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
What are mere circumstances when looked at from our position as God’s children? What is poverty, illness, brokenness, and pain when looked at through God’s awesome power? What are hurts, and sins done to us or by us when measured against God’s love? If God is for you, who can be against you? Romans 8:31-39 in The Message says,
31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Believer, wallow in and relish God’s very real, very big, and very pure love for you today. Consider what that means for you as well as for the many people ignorant to that awesome love.