During Fall 2017, I taught Calvary Monterey the book of Ephesians. During the series, I also wrote about Ephesians in sixty-plus short, devotionally styled posts. Each Thursday, through 2018, I will release a post. I hope you enjoy. For the entire series, please visit nateholdridge.com/united-for-unity-posts.
“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” (Ephesians 3:16).
Now we come to Paul’s prayer. It is substantially one main prayer, broken into individual parts. His chief desire is for the church to become united to the love of Christ. Not that Christ could love us more, but that we would realize more fully the love we are standing in. It is a prayer for revelation. But the prayer is broken down into smaller parts, telescoping out into the fuller prayer for a realization of Christ’s love.
The first portion of Paul’s prayer is for the Spirit to strengthen your inner person. He wants you to be “strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being.” Upon receiving Christ, you became a new creation; old things passed away, all things became new (2 Corinthians 5:17). So now you are Spirit and flesh, new man and body of sin. Life is brand new, a different experience. So for you to comprehend the love of Christ your new inner person must be made stronger. The new reality of the love of Christ is so foreign to our previous experience and way of life we need the transformative power of the Spirit to fundamentally change us from the inside out.
The temptation for every believer is to live naturally, to live according to the natural thoughts and impressions by which we’ve always lived. But we are told we must “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). If the Spirit does not strengthen and renew and transform our minds, we will go right along living and thinking and feeling just like the world around us. The spirit of the age will be our mentor, the one to teach us how to think and feel.
So our new inner person must be strengthened by the Spirit. In the garden of Gethsemane, during a time of intense testing and pressure, Jesus taught His disciples, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). He saw how their inner being needed building up. They needed to pray in order to give the Spirit room to reinforce them. When enduring deep temptation, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Since we are spiritual beings we must continually feast on spiritual bread, the Word of God. As we do, the Spirit is allowed to build us up from within.