Ephesians 3:16-18 A Prayer for God’s Strength and Wisdom

Do you want God’s Wisdom? Do you want God’s strength so that you can live a life pleasing to God? There’s really only one way to get it. In the verses below Paul continues his prayer for the believers he was writing to. Watch what he prays for…

(3:16) in order that He might, according to the riches of His glory, give you the gift of being strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, (3:17)  so that Christ may thoroughly settle down within your hearts through faith; and that you–in love (His) having  been planted and given a lasting foundation there

If Jesus is in our hearts right now because we believe in Him, why does Paul pray for his readers that Christ my dwell in their hearts through faith?  The answer is that the translation “dwell” doesn’t do justice to the meaning of the word. Literally that word means “down dwell.”  Not just be there but have a comfortable home there, be at home there and welcomed there, in other words. Faith can do that. Believing prayer can do that.

Jesus must not be totally satisfied with His home within us when there is a lot of doubt there—I’m talking about the need for moment-by-moment active faith. The only way to do this is to “practice the presence of Jesus,” that is practice an ongoing fellowship with Him throughout our daily seconds, minutes, hours.

One of my joys in this life is painting watercolors. At least when it’s going well! An d it can make a great deal of difference in how well it goes if I remember to trust God to be my helper as I both plan them and paint them.  Same with writing these words. The insights are so much better when I tell God beforehand, or during the writing, that I am trusting Him to help me.

I think this is, in essence, the same really with being filled with the Spirit of God. It’s a good thing to remember to do. And it’s not so much a matter of getting more of the Holy Spirit into us than it is letting Him have access to more of us.  Watchman Nee called this the release of the spirit (in his book of the same title): through the experience of one’s personal crosses in this life (the troubles that come our way), a brokenness occurs that allows our own spirit and God within it to flow outward through us in ministry to others.

How much of your life will you allow God into this day? How much do you actively share with Him?

(3:18) in order that you may have strength enough to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

It takes spiritual strength to be able to understand God’s love and all that it encompasses. Spiritual strength begins with humility, the conviction that I need God’s help. It also requires faith. This particular faith means that I believe that God will indeed help me if I ask Him to–and accompany my asking by believing that He actually will. Faith that honors God, that says we take Him at His Word.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting… (James 1:5-6a, NASB)

We need an ongoing openness.

Wisdom also demands openness, a willingness to be taught, to see things in a new way, God’s way. Now on the one hand, I do not mean by this a radical imagination that wants to disregard the basic doctrines of our faith that have stood the test of time—a long time. But on the other hand, I do mean an openness to be taught God’s emphasis on what we believe and what we understand and how we seek to walk in it.  A wisdom that shows us how to apply God’s truth to our lives in the here and now.

God wants us to ask Him for His wisdom, then refuse to doubt that He will grant it, and have an attitude of obedience to walk in the wisdom He gives. Obviously it’s God’s will for all believers, including you and me, to have His wisdom. And if we pray according to His will, we can be sure He will grant our request:

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
–1 John 5:14-15, NASB

This is really what’s involved in walking in the Spirit. It’s an ongoing fellowship with Almighty God. God intends for us to share our lives with Him. Do you believe God the Holy Spirit is in you and that you are in Christ right now? Have you noticed that God is a gentleman and doesn’t intrude, is not pushy, but is quietly there? He’s there for fellowship with us: “our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).

A victorious Christian life comes from ongoing fellowship with God.

But we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
–2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB

May we remember today and every day to share our lives with the God who loves us.

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