Sunday, March 13, 2011

Strength and Depth in Christ!

My Bible study has led me to spend time with Paul’s prayer to the saints found in Ephesians chapter three. Paul’s prayer does not ask God for physical healings or material items. Paul petitions God for the saint’s spiritual needs. I’m not saying that praying for our material and physical needs are not important. Too often, however, we only focus on these needs instead of focusing on the needs of our inner being.

“ 14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3: 14-21.

To summarize the prayer, Paul prays for the saints to have inner strength which leads to a deeper walk with Christ enabling them to experience God’s love for them in a more profound way and be filled with Christ. Today, I am just going to focus on the strength and depth that Paul prayed for.

The strength Paul writes about is the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is evidence of salvation. The Spirit is the most important resource we have for Christian living. The Spirit gives us our gifts, convicts us, helps us remember Scripture, teaches us, and always works for God’s glory guiding us into all truth. It is important for believers to be strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit so that in all we do; it will be for Christ’s glory.

Paul uses three verbs in this prayer to convey the depth Christians should have in Christ: dwell, rooted and grounded. Dwell means to be settled down and feel at home. Paul wants Christ to feel at home in the heart of the believer. Paul wants us to experience a deep fellowship with Christ. The verb rooted brings the image of a tree being strongly rooted in the ground. Strong deep roots bring water, nourishment and stability to the tree. Christians should have these same deep roots in Christ. Grounded is an architectural term that refers to the foundations in which one builds. An architect once said “If you don’t go deep, you can’t go high.” What a profound statement! If our relationship with Christ is not deep, how can we expect to do great and might things for Christ to bring him glory? The answer is we cannot. Our works will be made out of wood, hay and stubble and be consumed by the fire of judgment because our works would have been out of our own power. (1Cor. 3:12).

“If there is going to be power in the Christian life, then there must be depth. The roots must go deeper and deeper into the love of Christ. “ Wiersbe, Be Rich!

Paul’s prayer is that believers may experience a deeper relationship with Christ. Only a deep relationship will sustain the believer during severe trials and tribulations they experience in life. We must ask ourselves from where we draw our nourishment and stability. Do I have a deep relationship with Christ or just a surface relationship? If the Holy Spirit stopped working in my life would I even notice?

When we “bow the knee” is it for appearances or to satisfy our deep hunger for Christ? Are we yielding our inner man to the Holy Spirit or are we praying that God satisfy our materialistic and selfish wants? Are we feeding our inner man so we can grow in a deeper, heartfelt relationship with Christ?

Dear Jesus, I bow then knee today not for appearance sake but because I hunger for You Lord. I want a strong, deep relationship with You so when the trials of life come I will be able to stand firm and not be tossed around by the raging seas of turmoil and strife. Lord, I want You to work in my inner man so I may bring glory and honor to You. Amen.

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