Summary: All Christians can be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and filled up with the love of God. God is able to do more than we can even imagine in and through us.
Aren’t batteries amazing? I don’t really understand how they work – I just know that somehow they give a mechanical device the power they need to perform what it was designed for. The bad thing about batteries is they get old and worn down, and eventually don’t work any more.
Last summer I had that common experience of not being able to get my car started. I called my mechanic, and he came to see what was wrong – he gave me a jump start and told me to go immediately to get a new battery. So I got in the car and headed to Les Schwab. On the way there, I decided to turn on the radio. Bad idea. After about 5 seconds the car engine shut off. Seems the battery was so weak that just that little bit of extra power needed to give the radio it’s power sucked the energy out of that old battery. It just couldn’t handle any extra demands.
Sometimes I feel like that. Sometimes I feel like my inner battery has been sucked dry of it’s power to sustain me and keep me functioning in all the capacities I’m called upon as a father, husband, and pastor. And then if something else happens that is stressful or requires my energy – it can feel like I just want to shut down. Can anybody relate to this?
I think it’s a common experience to most of us that we can feel like what is being required of us is taking out more energy than we have in our emotional/spiritual/physical batteries. The good news is there is a solution, and God has something even better than an Energizer bunny for our souls.
Last week I talked about the idea that “God Likes You”. In that message I shared what I believe to be true – that we can only obey God over the long haul if we love him – and that we can only really love God if we first receive his love for us. I went on to say that God’s love in our lives is the fuel we need to live for him.
There is more to the story, however. Because God does not just give us his love, he gives us Himself, as we’ll see in our scripture passage for today.
Turn with me now to Ephesians 3:16…
As I read this look for how God wants to empower and fill us – there are three ways Paul mentions. This is one of two fantastic prayers that Paul prays for the church in Ephesus – but I believe we can learn so much from this prayer and pray it for ourselves as well.
Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
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.
How can we be strengthened? 3 ways are mentioned.
1. We are strengthened through his Spirit in our inner being. (v. 16)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…
When that car battery is dead what it needs is someone to come and give it a jump start. It cannot just rest and on it’s own summon new power. It needs an outside source.
Good news - All believers in Christ are given this outside source – the Holy Spirit.
Eph. 1:13-14 (NIV) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.
Paul prays that the believers in Ephesus would not just receive that seal or deposit – but that through the Holy Spirit you might be strengthened out of the glorious riches of power that he has.
Paul has experienced for himself what it is to receive power from the Holy Spirit when he had none himself to give, and he wants everyone in the church to know what this is like. This is my desire for you as well!