That You May Know (7)
… that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. Ephesians 1.18-21
The power of spiritual power
Power is on people’s minds a lot these days – electrical power, Internet power, military power, economic power. When storms shut down electricity to millions of people, suddenly the power we take for granted each day comes pointedly into focus. “How soon before the power is back on?” When some international bully decides to flex his country’s military prowess against a neighbor, we feel a chill go up our spines at the thought of war and all that it portends. When a big-box gobbles up the business of mom-and-pop stores in a community, we see economic power at work. And whenever we surf from website to website, looking for just the right gift, and suddenly begin to be accosted by pop-up ads offering the same sort of thing we’re seeking, then we wonder about the power of the Internet to get into our minds and wallets.
But all such powers are merely dependent powers. They exist and perform their work only because a greater power exists which upholds not only them, but all the vast cosmos and everything in it. The power of Jesus’ Word is spiritual power, but it is the power that makes all other powers function, and that has the power to shut them all down, should it be the will of the Lord.
Power is energy applied in a focused way to produce work. Gasoline power works to move our cars. Heat power cooks our meals. Political power sets limits on what we can do. All these powers are rather “on demand.” They work when we appeal to them, for whatever we might want them to accomplish for us.
Scientists explain that four basic powers keep the universe going – gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak forces of the atom. For almost a century now, many cosmologists have believed that these four powers reduce to one overarching and all-controlling power. The Grand Unifying Theory of the universe represents a quest to discover that power, a power so great and so constant that all other powers, forces, motions, and movements depend on it at all times.
Well, we can put the GUT theorists at ease, because we know that power. We’ve seen it at work, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, and especially raising Jesus Christ from the dead, and seating Him in the seat of all power (Matt. 28.18) at the right hand of the invisible God. From that vantage point, Jesus speaks power to everything that exists (Heb. 1.3), and the holy spiritual power that issues from His Word determines the continuance, disposition, movement, and consequences of all other powers. This does not in any way impugn Jesus for the misuse of any power, or when the various powers of a world in rebellion against Him bring havoc and destruction to the earth. In the exercise of His holy spiritual power, Jesus allows the consequences of sin to be always before us, that we might revolt against all such exercises of power – even down to those within our own souls – and unite ourselves with the power that raised Jesus and upholds the cosmos, power far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come.
Spiritual power is real. And when the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of our heart by the wisdom and revelation of God, then we can know that holy spiritual power and experience its uprighting and transforming effects.
Power comin’ at ya
Paul reminds us that the power that raised and exalted Jesus is “power toward us who believe” (v. 19). Jesus directs His power toward us. More than that, He sends His power to dwell within each one of us, in the Person of the Holy Spirit of God. As Jesus promised, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1.8). This is power to open the revelation of God, and to grant us His wisdom, embed us in His hope, surround us with His glory, and distribute to us the riches of our inheritance in Jesus Christ. This is power that can overcome your doubts, fears, and hesitations. This power brightens the mind, so that we think and plan and direct our lives with the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2.16). This power overcomes the inertia of self-love to enable us to love others the way Jesus did (John 13.35). This power leads us to dismantle all lesser priorities and set our consciences on seeking the rule and righteousness of King Jesus as the defining priority in every aspect and facet of our lives (Matt. 6.33).
And this power transforms us into the very likeness of Jesus Christ Himself (2 Cor. 3.12-18), so that nothing which He calls us to do will be impossible for us, and everything we do can bring glory to God.
This power is indeed comin’ at ya. Are you open to it? Do you seek it? Are you eager to receive and act on it daily? Are you plugged into the Source of this power? Do you believe Him for the exercise of it? As the Holy Spirit of God opens the eyes of your heart, and you begin to focus your entire being on Jesus, exalted in light and magnificence and majesty and might and glory, then the light of Jesus can pour through the eyes of your heart and empower you for restoring the reconciled world in which you live.
For filling everything with Jesus!
Paul prayed that God would open the eyes of our hearts, that we might know wisdom and revelation from Jesus Christ, with the result that we would know the hope of glory, know the riches of our inheritance, and know the power that raised Jesus from the dead. This is what Paul wanted for you. Is this what you want? Or are you content with having a “good enough” faith in Jesus, a faith that assures you of heaven, makes you happy to be a Christian, and satisies you with some participation in your local body of believers, and not much more?
Such contentment is not laudable. Not when power is coming at you that can change you into the image of Jesus and, through you, change this sad, weary, uncertain world into a thriving environment of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Until you want what Paul wants for you, you’ll be of little use in realizing more of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God. You can pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” all you want, but you’ll never experience it, never see much of the fruit of it, never become immersed in the exhilarating joy of the Presence of Jesus, until you begin earnestly to desire what Paul earnestly desired for you.
Pray with Paul: “Open our eyes, Lord; we want to see Jesus,” and make seeing Jesus the driving force, defining priority, and constant focus of everything you do. Then watch as the power begins to flow to you and through you, to fill all things in all things with the glory of God and the Presence of Jesus Christ.
For reflection or discussion
1. Why do we say that all forms of power are dependent on the power of Jesus’ Word?
2. What can keep us from knowing more of Jesus’ power in our lives?
3. Do you understand what Paul wants for you? Do you want that as well?
Next steps – Preparation: Spend time meditating on Ephesians 1.15-23. Ask God to help you want what Paul wants for you.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Greatness of His Power
- T.M. Moore
- November 2, 2020
Coming at you from Jesus.
That You May Know (7)