It is an amazing prayer. The initial request was so simple. The heart of an apostle spilled forth seeking God to enlighten his people.
This was not a request for God’s people to grasp some grand nebulous understanding. With laser precision Paul prayed for God to enlighten his people in very specific ways, ways that have inspired and continue to infuse lives with direction and purpose.
Among these life changing insights, Paul desired for the saints and faithful in Christ to comprehend, “what is the surpassing greatness of God’s power toward us who have believed according to the working of his mighty strength” (Ephesians 1:19). Unless we pause and reflect, the sheer magnitude of what Paul desires us to grasp might go unnoticed.
Just how immense is the Creator’s strength? Now consider that God’s power intersects the believer’s life! How?
Speculation could run rampant. Paul reels our creativity in focusing our gaze upon Christ’s entombed lifeless body. Several days have passed since blood flowed through his veins or his lungs filled with air. The earliest stages of cellular break down have begun.
As we stare at this lifeless body, suddenly the chest lunges upward as a deep breath fills the lungs. The heart beats. Color rushes into the rigid skin immediately softening it. The Creator has infused life anew, the Son of God rises from the dead. However, this is not everything. God then exalts Christ within the spiritual realm above every other authority or name.
It is as though Paul’s pen presses us for an answer. Did we pay attention? Do we understand what God’s power did for Jesus? What was dead came to life, and not only this, but God exalted Christ.
Paul looks intently at us, speaking slowly. Do you understand? That is the power God works in your lives.
We were dead in sinful disobedience. Our lives were dominated by all sorts of spiritually evil forces. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgression, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! – and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
However, even this granting of life and exalting us with Christ does not exhaust what God’s power has achieved. As his new creation, God created us in Christ to achieve his purposes. God gives our lives a meaning and direction that is bigger than any of us.
As people rescued by God, we are to promote what God is doing in this world. We are to live up to God’s calling, that is, everything God has planned for his people and which Paul mentioned in Ephesians 1:3-10. Just as God had planned prior to creation what he would do through Christ for us, God had likewise planned for us to be involved by “doing good works” (Ephesians 2:10).
No wonder Paul wanted the church to comprehend God’s power for the believer. It changes how we live.
When we understand God’s merciful power in our lives and the hope we possess, namely the rich inheritance he has prepared for us, the appropriate response is gratitude and worship. When we further realize that God has planned for us to be engaged in maintaining and promoting his work to unite all things under Christ, our lives are infused with direction and purpose.