“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner being…”- Ephesians 3:14, 16 (ESV)
This weekend at Fellowship Church, we launched head first into a new initiative called Beyond. This “series” is far more than just a series, but is instead a full scale effort designed to renew and refocus us individually and corporately around what it means to steward well every aspect of the lives which God has granted to us as His people and His church.
Within this season, we’ll focus on four key stewardship of life practices of followers of Jesus- serving the church practically, sharing the Gospel intentionally, giving of our financial resources generously, and living a life of distinctive obedience to God and participation in His Kingdom mission. In each of these areas, it is our conviction that God has called us as His people to live beyond ourselves in a radical way, that God might be rightly glorified, that His church might be continually built up, and that the lives of people just like you and me might be transformed inside out by the grace of God in Jesus. The “end game” of the beyond life is nothing less than such an eternal impact.
In this way, the beyond life is a life of power.
In Ephesians 3, Paul prays a tremendous pastoral prayer for the church in the city of Ephesus. Within it, he petitions God passionately to grant his brothers and sisters “power” as they seek to know and follow Him. The Greek word that translates as “power” in this verse is dunamis, where we get our English word “dynamite.” Now if you have any experience with dynamite- or perhaps if you’ve watched an episode of Looney Tunes at some point in your life- you know that is an undeniably powerful force. When it is detonated, its surroundings are impacted- significantly, and permanently.
Do you recognize that this is the precise intensity of impact that God desires for you as His follower- and for us as His church- to have on the world around us? He desires and has designed that we would, in Him, “blow up” the prevailing power of sin and death in the lives of those around us and instead break through with the life changing light of the Gospel of grace. He wants lives changed…families changed…neighborhoods changed…nations changed…for His eternal glory. And astoundingly, He wants you and I to be an intimate part of that process.
Let’s face it, though- We can’t live the life of “dynamite” spiritual power that God intends for us if we remain content to pattern our lives practically after the status quo of this world. To someone not living the beyond life, serving, sharing, giving, and living beyond what is normal or even seemingly reasonable seems downright strange. As Craig Groeschel states in his aptly titled book, Weird- “If you want a normal life, do what normal people do. But if you want to know God intimately, walk with Him daily, and please Him in every way, you have to do what few people do.” This, of course, sounds strikingly familiar to something Jesus Himself said about finding life on the “narrow path.”
Chances are, this all sounds somewhat heady, or even intimidating, to you. You’re thinking to yourself, “But I could never…” about one or more or perhaps all of these aspects of the beyond life. That’s understandable, but in the face of that fear or doubt, I want to encourage you to look again at what Paul prays here. He does not pray that the Ephesians would “find strength within themselves,” “reach down and muster up some willpower,” or anything of the sort. In fact, he prays just the opposite- that God Himself, by His gracious and strengthening Spirit, would “grant” them all the strength needed to be and do all that He had called them to be and do.
Make no mistake- The beyond is a life of power, but it is not a power of your own making. It is, instead, the power of your Father God at work in and through you. Our power is inadequate, but His is unlimited. After all, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead now lives in us. Will you?