TO BE FILLED
In Paul’s words, we find a life that revolves around prayer.
EPHESIANS 3:14-21 (World English Bible)
“For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be the glory in the assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
The apostle Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians with prayer (ref. Eph. 1:15ff). As he continues, in chapter 3, his prayer continues for the church. At times we can overlook the importance of prayer. We can fail to realize how prayer is connected to our mission. Often, we can disconnect prayer from our actions. However, as we learn from the life of Paul, prayer is vitally connected to his purposes. As he teaches and instructs this young church, we see that every word, thought, and action is surrounded by prayer. Prayer should not be disconnected from our lives, what we do, or our purpose. We can see the life of Paul revolved around prayer. Do our lives revolve around prayer? Is prayer central to who we are?
What was it that Paul prayed for as he considers this young church? Paul desired that they be “filled with all the fullness of God” (ref. Eph. 3:19). Understanding the fullness of God includes an understanding of His love. His love is the very heart of what it is to be Christian. This is what Jesus explained in (Matthew 22).
MATTHEW 22:37-40 (WEB)
“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Today, love has come to mean different things to different people. In our culture, we often see love as merely an emotion. It is often abused, often mistreated, and often used selfishly to the harm of others. Christ’s love and the love of God should not be understood or even equated to this type of love. Through the Scriptures, we learn of Christ’s love that it was selfless, humble, and sacrificial. Jesus demonstrated the love of God as He surrendered Himself, completely giving His life on a cross for the sake of sin. It’s a love that was not motivated in self-interest but in looking to the benefit of others.
Sacrificial love is not common, and it’s not easy. However, through God’s power working in us, He can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (ref. Eph. 3:20). When our lives reflect His love, God is both exalted and glorified.