Ephesians 3: 14-17a

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 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.

 

In all of the letters to other churches that the apostle Paul wrote (at least the ones we have in our Bibles) he always offers prayers for their needs. The church in Ephesus was no different and even though he doesn’t come right out and tell us about all the problems the church was facing we can still make some assumptions. We do know for sure from the content of the letter that the believers in Ephesus needed good solid teaching so that they wouldn’t be swayed back and forth by every person who says the Spirit told them something. We can make the assumption from reading verse 13 of chapter 3 that they may have been discouraged by Paul’s imprisonment. Maybe that is why the prayer that he offers for them in today’s passage asks God to strengthen them in their inner being. This prayer of Paul’s also can apply to us, because all Christians get discouraged, and we can, in the same way, bring their problems before the Father on their behalf. This is exactly what Madam Sifa encouraged us to do just a few days ago.

Paul knows that he is praying to the all-powerful Creator God. He, therefore, asks God in verse 16 to use all His “glorious riches” to help the Ephesians. By using this term ‘riches’, Paul is reminding the Ephesians, and us, that our God has a bottomless well of gifts and grace that is never empty. His resources are never exhausted and therefore He can give abundantly without holding back. He never has to worry that there won’t be enough. We can rejoice as it tells us in John 3:34 because, “The the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. We can be confident that God will strengthen us in our inner being whenever we ask. As it tells us in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The Holy Spirit will give us the means to endure any trouble that we may face when we are doing God’s will.

 

In verse 17 Paul asks God to grant the Ephesians strength, “so that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith. At first, that request may seem a little confusing to us. Doesn’t Jesus already live in the believer’s heart? However, Paul is not talking about the fact that, when we are born again, Jesus comes to dwell within our hearts by His Spirit. What he is praying for here is that the Ephesian Christians would continue to develop in their faith, to grow in their personal holiness, so much so that they would become people who the perfect Saviour would feel completely at home with. What Paul is really asking is that their personal lives would never bring shame or dishonour upon the Lord as we profess His name to a watching world. Of course, we never reach the point where we no longer need to grow and where this kind of prayer becomes unnecessary. 

Think About: It is a great and comforting truth that Christ does not wait for us to be perfect before He comes to live within us. This truth should cause us to rejoice. And yet the Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Yes, it is still possible to depress His Spirit by our sin and that is why we must continually put to death the sin that is in us so that we can be a suitable place for Him to live. We are only able to do this through the strength that God gives us and that is why we need to pray to God every day and admit that we need His grace and His power in our lives.