Updated: Mar 24, 2022
"Conversations with God"
Pastor Tim Keller writes, “It is possible for Christians to live their lives with a high degree of phoniness, hollowness and in authenticity. The reason is because they have failed to move that truth into their hearts and therefore it has not actually changed who they are and how they live their lives.” Unfortunately, I see this all too often. Being honest, I have experienced time sin my life when this could be said of me. Ephesians 3:14-21 is God’s words to us about seeking for what we know about Jesus in our minds to take hold of our hearts. You will see these words tell us this occurs in our praying.
In the original Greek this is basically one long sentence. Look for the three basic requests the writer makes of God. 1) for Jesus the Christ to dwell in your heart, 2) for you to know the love of Jesus and 3) for you to be filled with the fullness of God.
We begin praying in Ephesians 3:14-15, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” God is the Father of all humanity. The Greek says “the Father of all fatherhood.” The human race is created and exists under the rule of the One God. When the writer says “I kneel” I do not think this is metaphorical but actually kneeling in praying.
It will also be helpful to know that God’s power and God-the-Holy-Spirit are basically one and the same. Further, God-the-Spirit’s dwelling in you and empowering you is not a separate thing from Jesus-the-Christ, God-the-Son, dwelling in you and empowering you. There are places where God-the-Spirit is called the Spirit-of-Christ.
What does God being the “Father of all humanity” tell you about God’s character? Why should you kneel before God in praying?
Look at verse 16-17a, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Read this a few times to really see what happening here. Think one God in three persons. The Trinity!
Who are you praying to? Who would God send to act in your life? If God answers your praying, who will you experience in your life?
Read on in verses 17b-18, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” This is rather circular praying. To know God’s love is then to have the power to “grasp” the love of Jesus-the-Christ. A love which is after all the clearest vision we have of, yup you guessed it, the love of God. So “God’s love” is the source and the goal of our praying. This is once again God’s grace, his love in our lives that comes from him and him alone – through nothing we bring to the table.
What is the writer trying to express in this word picture, “how wide and long and high and deep…?”
IMPORTANT QUESTION – How might you put some more specific and tangible truths on this picture of the immense love of Christ? How would this be expressed in your praying? Hint, our praying must begin with the words of the Bible.
Finally, consider verse 19, “and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” The “fullness of God” expresses the way God makes his presence and his power known.
How can you “know” something that is “surpasses knowing?” What might you be praying for God to do here? Finally, what will your life look like when we are more and more filled with “the fullness of God?”
These are God’s words to you telling you to ask God to make his love for you real and tangible. Not just abstract love from “out there.” No, love that we can see and know personally in a relationship with Jesus. Love that will thrill your heart when you comprehend in your very core what Jesus has done and is doing for you. This will never come from your own abilities to comprehend but because God has answered your praying for your heart to be alive with this awareness!
Make the investment of time and energy and praying! Then it is possible with God’s grace to live your life with a high degree of Christ-like realness, sincerity and authenticity. The reason is because you have allowed the Holy Spirit to move that truth into your heart and therefore it has actually changed who you are and how you live your life.
See you Sunday!
picture thanks to tim-mossholder-Hands_Open_up on unsplash.