To begin, let’s look at a passage that surrounds an oft-quoted scripture we pull out of Ephesians chapter 3.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
“For this cause.” Paul's prayer had a purpose; it was the following:
-so that believers would understand that their strength was in their inner man—through the power of the Holy Ghost
-so that they would realize that the indwelling Spirit, possessed through faith, was the very expression of God’s love
-so that they could realize the indwelling Love was incomprehensibly the very fullness of God Himself.
-so that they could see that there were no limits when the indwelling power of God worked through them.
These realizations link us to the power flow. However, we tend to bypass our part and hone in on the part that GOD is able. Then we blame Him when He does not choose to do what we think needs doing. His power is within us, and we are conduits of that power. When we understand that it’s not us but Him and that His fulness resides in us for a purpose—to do exceeding above what our imagination and fleshly limits are able to do, God works. He receives glory. If God, therefore, is being criticized for His failure to do exploits, it could be, in part, because the Church is not doing its part. Paul tells Timothy that some people want the appearance of godliness but deny the power. We must ask ourselves are we using the power we have been given? Or, are we rendering the Spirit inactive in our lives? Do we fall among those who like the form of godliness, the appearance of looking Christian, but do not exercise the power of our experience? If we are, then we are DENYING the power.
2 Timothy 3 explains HOW we deny the power. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (Perilous times—troublesome, harsh times; those need-a-miracle moments—come) For (BECAUSE…) men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
See how denying the power begins? Self-affection, self-justification, self-focus, selfishness, self-pity, self-inflation, self-preservation, self-will…SELF. Self wants to look the part. It enjoys religion because it quells the guilt of sin. Self likes the benefits of living for God, but self does not like the sacrifice, the submission, the things that cause discomfort. And the Spirit insists on discomfort. The Holy Ghost is unsettling when He is at work because for the power to be exercised, there must BE exercise: stretching, sweating, and even heart-racing moments. For God’s power to be in charge, losing our own control is also required. And Self loves calling the shots. Sadly, because of self-focus, the environment of giving, helping, praying, loving, serving, and ministering falters. God is still as powerful as always, but if His ability to do exceeding abundant is contingent upon our getting out of the way, there is no wonder that all manner of peril is prevalent in our world.
Denying self, on the other hand, invites the Spirit to move; it welcomes God’s power. If we remove the restrictions of our thinking, speaking, and doing and let His Spirit in us rule, then God will work THROUGH us. Like Paul said, we must see that our inner man is the hub of spiritual activity. We must recognize that through the Holy Ghost we have the expression of God’s love, a love that reaches out to fellow man—a love that upholds others, caring about them more than self, a love that settles inner insecurities. When SELF gets exchanged for HIM, His power and authority in and through us can make the difference the world needs. We pray in the Spirit, and the Spirit works on behalf of the hurting. We are led by the Spirit and we take action, reach out, give, assist, encourage, take a stand. We shine Light into the darkness. God loves through us. He serves, through us. He intervenes through our prayers. And amid it all, His power changes our inner man, shifting our perspective to His perspective. We get in sync with His will, pray in agreement with His plan, become His hands and feet. His power housed in our flesh works beyond our earthly constraints. And because His power within us is able to do exceeding and above all we could ask or think, many of life’s hard questions are given answers God alone is able to provide.
Tip/Tidbit: Is God’s power working through you, or has complacency rendered the Spirit ineffective in your life? Today, let God change the world through YOU!