January 3, 2017

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

It is entirely appropriate that Paul would pray this after what he has just prayed for his readers, because what he has just prayed is impossible from a strictly human standpoint. However, it is to God’s glory that His Spirit, love and power indwell those who are His children by faith. It is passages like this that make Ephesians my favorite book in the whole Bible (though that’s a pretty fierce competition). I think the same could have been said of my maternal grandfather, W. O. Carver, who wrote what many feel was his best book, The Glory of God and the Christian Calling, on this letter of Paul. Ephesians was written late in Paul’s life, but not at a point when he was sharply aware of his imminent martyrdom. It distills much of what he had heard and learned of/from the Lord throughout his life, without being too tied to local conditions and events of those to whom it was written. (There is valid discussion as to whether it was originally written just to Ephesus, or whether it was written to a number of churches and the one to Ephesus just happens to be the one that was best preserved.) It focuses in on our relationship to God: what He has done for us in Christ and how we should be living that out in our daily lives. As such it is an excellent tool in accomplishing exactly what Paul prays for here, because the more we internalize the truths it holds, the more we will grasp the magnificence of what God has done for us and the more we will walk that out daily, for His glory.

As familiar as this book is to me, I still can’t say I live it out 100% in every situation. I would do well to meditate on it more, perhaps even memorizing it in both of the languages I use on a daily basis. However, even memorization doesn’t necessarily mean application. I must not deceive myself by loving the words without living them out. (James 1:22) This particular snippet is very important to remember: God is able to do more than I can ask or imagine. Recently He has been doing some fairly remarkable things that we really didn’t know to ask for, and He is going to do far more. I am never to underestimate God! I have been overwhelmed at times by the volume and variety of what felt like demands on me, but however impossible it might be for me to answer all of those on my own, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) I am too prone to limit God by looking at people and circumstances strictly through the filter of my own abilities. That’s downright laughable! I must remember that God is GOD, for crying out loud! As the Bible says repeatedly, “impossible” simply doesn’t apply to Him. For example, I was telling some people just the other day how He got Cathy and me together, and I had to say that the story would be ridiculed as the plot of a movie as simply too improbable. I need to remember such things in my own life, even, and expect Him to continue to do more than I could ever ask or imagine.

Father, thank You for this encouraging reminder. I’ve got quite an imagination, but it doesn’t begin to approach Your plans for me and for this church. May I be yielded to You joyfully at all times, to be completely available for You to do in and through me all that You plan and desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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