January 3, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Today we begin a new series of Life for Leaders devotions, and I’m excited to share with you where we’re headed. If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that we just finished an in-depth devotional walk through Isaiah. My pattern in Life for Leaders has been to move back and forth from the Old Testament to the New Testament, also varying the genre of writings (Law, Prophets, Gospels, Letters, etc.). So, it’s now time for us to focus on a letter from the New Testament.
It may not surprise you that I have chosen Ephesians. You may know that I came out with a commentary on Ephesians about a year ago, so I have had Ephesians on the brain, so to speak. But I’ve also had Ephesians on my heart. After five years studying, praying, and commenting on this book, I love it more than ever. And I am convinced more than ever of its power to transform our lives, our workplaces, our families, our churches, and our world. Ephesians speaks to our world, to our challenges and opportunities, in an astounding way. I am eager to share with you what I have learned through my in-depth study of Ephesians, and trust that God will use this in your life in ways that will exceed your imagination.
I really mean what I just wrote. But you don’t have to take it from me. I basically paraphrased one of my favorite verses from Ephesians. Ephesians 3:20 refers to God as the one who “is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Did you catch that? God is able to do way, way more than you can even imagine. God is able to do far more than you even know how to ask for in prayer. Amazing!
We all have dreams for our lives. We have what my colleague at Fuller, Scott Cormode, calls “longings.” These are deeply felt hopes and desires that motivate and shape how we live each day. Yet, according to Ephesians, God is able to do far more than your greatest longings. God can and will use you in ways you never expected. He will bless you with goodness that exceeds your hopefulness.
And, I believe, God will do this as we walk slowly, thoughtfully, attentively, receptively, and prayerfully through Ephesians. So I invite you to join me on this journey.
Something to Think About:
What are your hopes for 2018?
What are some of the longings of your heart?
How do these longings make a difference in your life?
Something to Do:
Spiritual formation happens best in community. Yes, developing a personal and private relationship with God is important. But if you want to grow robustly in Christ, then you also need the support and fellowship of the Christian family. You can certainly follow Life for Leaders by yourself as we make our way through Ephesians. But perhaps you could invite someone else to share this experience with you. Perhaps a friend or a spouse. Perhaps a small group or a prayer partner. This isn’t required, of course. But let me encourage you to consider sharing our walk through Ephesians with at least one other person in your life.
Gracious God, I’m excited to begin working through Ephesians again. There is so much in this book! Thank you for inspiring Paul as he wrote. Thank you for the stunning and stretching truths in this book. Thank you for a vision of life that empowers us and includes us.
O Lord, may you do in and through us far more than all we can ask or imagine. We make ourselves available to you now.
Be glorified in us, in all we do, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Introduction to Ephesians
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.
I am lookin forward to the study in Ephesians. Your devotions are always insightful and encouraging and often challenging. Happy New Year Mark.
Thanks, Sonja. Good to hear from you.
This is a good reminder, especially at the beginning of the year. Thank you. I’m looking forward to reading the rest. Happy New Year to you!
Thanks, Alexandra, for your words of encouragement.
Good morning! I am just now joining in at the recommendation of my pastor in response to a question about the Liturgical Year and how that all works in individual lives. Ephesians is my favorite New Testament letter. Thank you! I will look forward to benefiting from all your hard work and joining the community here on this site.E