April 23, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Ephesians 1:17-20
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.
According to Ephesians 3:20-21, God is able to do far more than all we ask in prayer, far more than all we can imagine. How does God do this? Through “the power at work within us.” We see that power in the resurrection of Jesus, which shows us that with God, nothing is impossible.
This devotion is part of the series: Why Easter Matters.
As you saw in last Thursday’s Life for Leaders devotion, God’s power is working FOR you. God’s power is on your side. That’s good news, to be sure. But it might cause you to wonder: What is God’s power like?
One answer to this question comes from the miracle of Easter. According to Ephesians 1:19-20, the power of God was at work when God “raised [Christ] from the dead.” The resurrection of Jesus was not, as some would argue, a poetic way to express the victory of good over evil or a myth dreamt up by the first Christians to dress Jesus up as divine. Rather, the resurrection was something that actually happened. It was experienced by the earliest followers of Jesus as a real, historical event. To be precise, they did not witness the actual resurrection of Jesus. Rather, they encountered the resurrected Jesus who, much to their surprise, had conquered death. They knew that his tomb was empty, not because his body had been stolen, but because death could not constrain Jesus forever.
Ephesians 1 says that the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us. This does not mean, however, that we can control this power. The power of God is not like the Force in Star Wars, something we can learn to manipulate. Rather, we have access to God’s power because God dwells in us and among us through the Holy Spirit. God determines how divine power will be used in our lives. As we make ourselves available to God, the Spirit fills us, transforms us, and empowers us to participate in God’s work in the world. Whether we’re feeding the homeless, preaching sermons, guiding a startup, nursing a baby, or teaching a class of high school seniors, the Spirit of God will be at work in us if we are open and willing.
Of course, we are free and encouraged to ask God to do works of power in, through, and around us. We see an example of this later in Ephesians, when Paul writes, “Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20). Paul’s example inspires us to pray similarly, both for ourselves and for others.
But God is not limited by our prayers. God can and does choose to act in ways that greatly exceed even our wildest expectations. We see this in a striking passage from chapter 3 of Ephesians, “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever” (3:20-21). What an astounding truth about God! God is able to do way more than we ask in prayer, way more than we can even imagine. How does God do this? Through “the power at work within us.” We see that power in the resurrection of Jesus, which shows us that with God, nothing is impossible.
When have you experienced God’s power at work in your life?
Have there been times in your life when God’s power seems to have deserted you?
In what areas of your life right now do you need God’s power?
When you begin your workday, no matter what kind of work you’re doing, offer yourself to the Lord and ask the Lord to empower you for the challenges of the day. Pay attention to times when you are especially aware of God’s power at work in you.
Gracious God, I do want to know your power, the power that raised Jesus from the dead. I do want to experience this power as it continues to transform my life and as you work through me to accomplish your purposes on earth.
Help me, Lord, to know you well so that I might know your power. Help me to live with confidence in your power. Empower me to do your bidding, to live for your glory in every part of life. Give me patience and peace when you choose not to do what I wish you would do. Help me to remain faithful and available. To you be all the glory! Amen.
Banner image by Andre Benz on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.
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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.