It never ceases to fill me with awe and wonder whenever I’m drawn to the following passage. It’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version summarizing why the “Church” exists. She is a bride as extraordinary as her Bridegroom! Yet she is also a spiritual warrior fighting powers unseen and bringing captives to freedom at the deepest and most profound levels, in Her Bridegroom’s Name.
“…God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God… 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, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3: 9,10,14-19 KJV)
(I encourage the reader to peruse the entire chapter. “Peruse” does not mean scan; it means to consider and savor well and deeply. See also Romans 8 and John 17 for further insight.)
Several aims of the apostle’s prayer stand out dynamically as something worth pondering, something really worth entering into through the work and life of the elect, by way of prayer as the central focus and purpose of our being.
The question is, does our aim as the “church” align with what is revealed here? Or are we approaching God, in a manner of speaking, looking for beads and trinkets instead of spiritual pearls and diamonds of a priceless worth?
The first order of business is intention – intention allied, aligned with, and surrendered to Divine Will and Purpose. Paul isn’t talking about simply making a better life for ourselves. He is revealing that the the elect are called to a very supernatural purpose – that the multi faceted Wisdom of God is to be revealed by the elect – not just to Earth dwelling human beings, but to the principalities and powers in heavenly places!
It may be a good idea to just stop and contemplate that for awhile. Personally I don’t think we can find anything better that stretches us out of the finite and into the infinite!
(I also encourage the reader to meditate on Romans 8, to access even more insight into “the fellowship of the mystery”, as Paul refers to it in Ephesians 3:9. This fellowship is the “Ecclesia”, the ones Jesus prayed for, those called out of worldly religions and systems, per John 17:6, to a specific and supernatural purpose.)
The second thought addressed is the idea of being strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. There’s much to be done, and it begins with “an inside job” – our very first priority – the work of the Spirit in and through us.
Surrendering ourselves to the work of the Cross of our Lord Jesus – His redemptive work – so as to be set free from the entanglements of evil, beginning within ourselves – is what this is about. This takes place in time and space, here and now. It is in the innermost being where the process of salvation begins. We’re liberated at the most foundational level, cleansed, healed, restored and empowered by the Holy Spirit – reasons why we pray without ceasing.
The third point is that Christ’s Spirit must make His abode in us. This is so easily taken for granted. I’m baptized, so I’m a Christian… I belong to such and such a church or group, so I’m a Christian… I answered an altar call… I was baptized… I speak in tongues…
Not so fast, pilgrim. Redemption is given freely through Christ, yes. But salvation is a process worked out with our surrender to God’s will and work, Holy Spirit filled, with fear and trembling. Being in a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than being parked in a garage transforms your Chevy into a Rolls Royce. Nor will taking the Chevy to the car wash turn it into a Lexus.
Such ideas are “blessed assumptions”. Assuming does not make it so.
The fourth issue is this. Prayer in alignment with the Mind of Christ embraces a spiritual and supernatural vision unlike anything we can imagine. Prayer’s purpose is so we can be rooted and grounded in Christ Love in order to comprehend the breadth, length, height, depth of His Love (in all dimensions and directions!) surpassing all knowledge! Why? To be filled up to all the fullness of God – a far greater Reality than most of us ever thought possible!
Something happened a very long time ago. Angels staged a coup in Heaven. Humanity was complicit and drawn out of its blessed Celestial Home, falling into a cosmic trap. A plan of redemption was conceived and carried out by none other than the Fullness of the Godhead in bodily form.
He now calls forth His elect to live a life far above the morbid, miserable, and mundane, in order to serve notice to all principalities and powers hostile to the Supernal Creator and His children and responsible for this rebellion, that they’ve been evicted from the Creation which they hijacked. The ransom note was paid in full by the blood of the Son of God!
The question is, who has actually heard and understood the call – the call to come out from among the world’s systems, false religions, philosophies, and paradigms and to stand apart in His Name on behalf of His Kingdom which is not of this world?
This mission is not for the faint of heart, but in Christ it is also not “mission impossible”. Let us be about the Father’s business.