Strengthened with might

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. Eph. 3:16

This verse is embedded in a prayer (Eph. 3:14-21) in which every line deserves our fullest attention. But today let us consider this one verse. In this part of the prayer, the apostle points us to the solution to the problem of a sense of helplessness and defeatism.  The feeling that we can just go no further.  The feeling that God has abandoned us in the wilderness and left us to die.  The feeling that we are on our own and that we are therefore defeated.  The feeling that we will be overcome and overwhelmed by our enemies.

But this is a lie.  Because if so, why would Paul pray for this?  He prays for this because there are infinite resources available to the Christian.  He prays for it because there is “the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power” (Eph. 1:19).  Paul in fact begins and ends this prayer with a contemplation on the power of God.  He prays for God’s power on behalf of believers in verse 16, and then in verse 20 he exults in it: “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.”

Yes, we have a powerful enemy.  Yes, we are in ourselves very weak.  But “ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).  Like Elisha’s servant we need to see that surrounding all our enemies are the horses and chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:15-17).

The Christian who leans upon the grace of God has no reason to fear being defeated, for he or she has all the resources of heaven at hand.  We are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.  It is the Spirit of God himself who comes down to help us.  In other words, God does not just send help; he himself is our help.  It is his power that works in us. There are "riches of glory" at our disposal.

That is why Paul begins this prayer the way he goes: “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” (14-15).  In opening this way, the apostle again reminds us of the special and close connection that each believer has with God.  In Christ, God the Father is our Father.  We bear his name.  We are his children.  And because we are his children we can be sure that he will look after and take care of us.  He will not leave us as orphans.  He will come to us.  He will send the Spirit of his Son to us to strengthen us in our time of need.  “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Lk. 11:13).

And so, if we are in want, it is not because we lack the resources, or because our Father doesn’t care.  Rather, “ye have not, because ye ask not” (Jam. 4:2).  God waits for us to ask him because it is only in this way that we will be constantly reminded not only of our need for him but also of his care for us.  The call to prayer is a call to remember again that God our Father loves us and cares for us and will strengthen us for the road ahead.

By: Jeremiah Bass