August 13, 2009

Power Dynamics

Ephesians 3:14-21

I pray that … he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being …
Ephesians 3:16


The word power can be understood in several ways. It most commonly refers to strength or physical force.

Note that Paul in this text clearly means spiritual power because he asks God to “strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” Paul’s prayer is for internal strength that builds spiritual power. This power not only expresses itself in personal devotion to God but also in commitment and conviction that flows from the heart.

The source of this power is the Holy Spirit, and it is received through faith. In fact, the power of the Holy Spirit is what enables people to receive Christ into their lives, recognizing that he is Lord over all things, including their own heart, soul, mind, and strength. It’s not simply a matter of the human will or the decision of a reflective mind. Christian spirituality is the work of Christ and his Holy Spirit.

It is more accurate to say that Christ dwells in our hearts because we received him by the power of the Holy Spirit than it is to say that we accepted Christ and invited him to live within us (even though we also do that). This is not a mere theological distinction. We must give honor where it is due. And we must be honest, acknowledging that we depend first on Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit for faith (see Acts 3:16).

Father in heaven, teach us to rely on your Spirit for faith, confidence, and power. Help us to know you as the source of everything good in our hearts. Amen.

About the author — Peter Borgdorff

Dr. Peter Borgdorff has been a pastor and administrator in the Christian Reformed Church for 40 years, most recently serving as executive director till his retirement in 2006. He and his wife, Janet, have five children and 14 grandchildren.

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