As the Apostle Paul rounds out what we know as chapter 3 of Ephesians (fun fact: the first Bible to be versified was the Geneva translation in 1560), he continues his encouragement to the church with the pinnacle of his exhortation in this passage. He writes:
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Eph 3:20-21
It is certainly easy to forget or simply chose not to recognize just how powerful God is. For me, it’s miserably comforting to fall into a place where I start to worry or doubt God’s ability to take care of things. Worry for family, work, health, life in general, whatever. But both here and throughout Scripture we are told of God’s immense and incomprehensible power. As Paul says, the Lord is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think. Not just a little more than what we ask, but far more, abundantly beyond what we even THINK to ask! That pretty much nukes the need to worry!
When Paul says, “according to the power at work within us,” he is reaffirming that God works in us through the Holy Spirit – a topic in the preceding verses. The Greek word for “power” used here is dynamis, and Strong’s dictionary defines it as “miraculous power” and “mighty, wonderful work.” This power is working within us; the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a miraculous, wonderful power that is given by the Lord Almighty and not something we can gain or earn ourselves.
As we often find when we study Scripture, these types of declarations come with a caveat, and it’s that God does these things for His glory: “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations”. Never mistake the miraculous gifts we have been given, be it our salvation, the Holy Spirit living in us, a physical or mental talent or ability, or even an abundance of resources, as things that are for our glory or honor. They are always for God’s glory, and we are simply a beneficiary of God’s immense goodness in the work He is doing in and through us (Eph 1:5-6, 11, 2:7-10).
Paul closes out this topic with a simple acknowledgement and praise of the Lord’s eternal plan: “forever and ever, amen.” The glorious work God is doing in and through us is not just for the now. How often do we ask God to fix our problems right this minute? But what if the thing He is allowing is actually aimed toward the forever and ever? That’s not always our first suspicion, but it could very well be the case, and it is best for us to prayerfully submit those “right now” requests to the Lord with the attitude Christ modeled for us before going to the cross: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done,” (Luke 22:42). Christ understood that the Father was working in the forever and ever, and He humbly submitted to the Father’s will.
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s be sure to take some time to heartily praise and thank the Lord for the work He is doing within us. Through His eternal plan of salvation, He is being glorified and we are being blessed. It’s the perfect win-win, and as beneficiaries of His immense goodness and miraculous power, we have little room to be anything but exceedingly thankful for all the blessings we enjoy as His children.