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,
(Ephesians 3:14-16 ESV)
Today Paul begins his prayer for the Ephesians. The first thing he asks God to provide them is strength in their “inner being” (i.e. spiritual strength).
A strong inner being – a strong spirit – is important for a believer (Paul is praying for believers here). Without it we will experience anxiety and frustration when things in life don’t go in a way we understand. We will give in to harmful temptations. The unbelieving world lives like this – full of worry and with a lack of self-control. But this is not how God has called His children to live.
God wants us to be spiritually strong so that we will not be tossed around by what worries the world around us or by false teaching [Ephesians 4:14]. Another reason He wants this is being strong is a witness to non-believers. When non-believers see us not rattled by what goes on in the world around us they will want to know how that we can be that way.
In Paul’s prayer he asks God to “grant” the Ephesians this strength. God gives His strength to us “through His Spirit”. But God does not wave a magic wand over us. We have to actively participate in our spiritual growth after we are saved [Philippians 2:12].
Billy Graham once said the secret to a victorious Christian life is total surrender to the Spirit of God. The way we strengthen our spirit is by allowing the Holy Spirit to direct every decision we make. This seems illogical to those who don’t believe. But its true: surrender makes us stronger.
When a bodybuilder lifts a weight he is actually weakening his muscles. This is intentional. He lifts to the point where he can’t lift any more. The muscle is entirely depleted. The result is that the muscle will grow back stronger than it was before. Strengthening our spirit works similarly.
But we can’t follow the Spirit if we do not know where He is leading. That is why we must study God’s word daily. We must absorb God’s truth and we need to meditate on it – think about it – all day [Joshua 1:8]. One way we can do this is to study a small portion of Scripture every morning and keep it in our minds all day.
We spend a lot of time on our outer being. We wash it. We feed it. We exercise it. We dress it. But ultimately it will decay. Any attempt to keep it alive is futile. But we can continue grow spiritually our entire lives by studying God’s word and allowing the Holy Spirit to constantly guide us.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.