When trials and temptations come into your life, do you respond in humility and dependence on the Lord, or do you respond in your own strength?
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. —Ephesians 3:14-19.
Is there a cause you are willing to do anything for? Is there something in your life you are willing to spend yourself on? What is your supreme motivation? It is so easy to grow weary in pursuit of anything, particularly anything important.
When Paul begins this passage with, “For this reason,” he is really saying, I am infected by this truth because I have been affected by my concern for you out of my affection for Jesus. Isn’t it true we are most faithful to the things that find the greatest favor in our hearts? That’s what Paul is saying, I am moved by this on your behalf.
It is no coincidence Paul then prays for strength for the Ephesian believers and points to Jesus as the only defining strength in the universe.
First, Paul points out strength comes from humility. It is time to stop trusting performance and start trusting His promises. The answer to weakness is not a five-step plan, a pep talk, or motivational speech. The answer is to do what Paul does and get on our knees. It is impossible to strut when on the knees. Try it. The lower we get before God, the more we see the greatness of God. Think about it. People bow in submission before earthly royalty or to beg from the rich. True strength arrives when we see the Savior and not self as the source of true strength.
I am to bring everything I am before God because everything I have comes from God, and everything I need is found in God. How amazing God would allow us access to anything that belongs to Him! He gives from the abundant riches of His glory.
Truly, we are spiritual beggars given something stratospherically bigger than we could ever deserve. The word strength in the passage is the picture of bracing oneself. It is the image of a tough trial. It is the image of a struggle with temptation we don’t feel strong enough to resist. Humility gives us the place to flee where we will be fortified. Discouragement draws attention to where we are dependent. But Paul is saying, The place of greatest riches is the place of the greatest reliance. Don’t be down in heart for the Lord has placed His Spirit in your heart. May His strength be your sustenance and song today.
- When trials and temptations come, do I respond in humility and dependence on the Lord, or do I power through?
- Why do I respond in my own strength?
Father, Your ways are not my ways at all. Your Word tells me to be weak, because that is when You are strong. Help me discern when I am living in my own strength and forgive me for not depending on You when You offer Yourself to me so freely. In Jesus’ name, Amen.