“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Eph. 1:17 NASB
Perhaps you’ve heard the following humorous anecdote: A man was being pursued by a roaring, hungry lion. Feeling the beast’s hot breath on his neck and knowing his time was short, he prayed as he ran. He cried out in desperation, “0 Lord, please make this lion a Christian.” Within seconds, the frightened man became aware the lion had stopped the chase. When he looked behind him, he found the lion kneeling, lips moving in obvious prayer. Greatly relieved at this turn of events – and desirous of joining the lion in meditation – he approached the king of the jungle. When he was near enough, he heard the lion praying, “And bless, 0 Lord, this food for which I’m exceedingly grateful!”
Often when we see trouble “chasing” us, or has “caught” us, that becomes the time we turn to God in prayer. At those moments we pray that God would give us the strength, power, grace, faith, etc. to face that trouble or make that trouble more bearable or (better yet) end it altogether. Sometimes our prayers become “Give me more power,” “Give me more strength,” “Give me more faith,” etc. Then, when we don’t receive more, we tend to want to stop praying altogether, believing God is not interested in answering our prayers. The temptation to give up is rooted in a belief that the only answer to our prayer is the desired answer. Instead, what we really need is to pray that God would open our eyes to the strength, power, faith, grace, mercy, etc. He has already given us to face those difficulties head on!
Our lives as believers would be much more fulfilling and much more effective for Christ if we would only open our eyes and recognize that God has given us an abundance of riches in Christ and to allow those riches to affect the way we live. I contend that if we were simply more aware of our position in Christ (and had a greater understanding of that position) our lives would be a constant display of God’s power that is already at work in us. I simply base that conclusion on what God reveals through Paul in Ephesians.
In the context of chapter one, we discover the riches we have in Christ and how abundantly they have been given to us. Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers to be more aware of those riches and gain a greater understanding of what it means to be “in Him.” He wanted them to know how marvelously they had been blessed and to appreciate the limitless riches they possessed in Christ. He didn’t want them to go through life constantly searching for that which God had already given to them. Believers today tragically entangle themselves with pursuits for something more out of the Christian life; they want something special… they want something that the “ordinary” Christian life does not possess. You hear talk today of people wanting more of Christ or more of the Spirit, more strength, more hope, more peace, more love, a deeper life, more blessings… the list goes on. The prevailing thought is that the resources of God are dispensed or doled out by prescription. To some, it seems as if it is unlocked by some magical spiritual combination that only a few select believers can know or even practice. Friends, there are no spiritual resources in a reserve tank or vault that will be parceled out to those who meet certain “extra” criteria. I remind you that God has given you EVERYTHING you need. If you have experienced new birth in Christ, then you have been gifted with everything in Christ. There is no need to spend time or energy in the vain pursuits of that which God has already given. You don’t need salvation plus [insert anything here] to have the spiritual life God desires. You don’t need to pray for God’s light – just follow the light you already have. You don’t need to pray for strength – just use the strength He has already given in Christ. You don’t need to pray for peace – God has already given you a peace that is beyond comprehension. You don’t need to pray for grace – His supply of grace is sufficient. What you need in those moments of trial and distress is for God to grant you the wisdom and obedience necessary to appropriate the abundance of riches He has provided. Our problem is not a lack of blessings. Our problem is a lack of insight and wisdom to fully understand how to use them properly and faithfully.
Every believer needs to recognize that the power existent within them can never be overthrown or negated because of who supplied it. Because of who Jesus is, that power which is yours far surpasses that of Satan and his hosts who work to defeat it. Because Jesus has a unique relationship with the believer, all His power will be used on our behalf so that we can fulfill our purpose. We are guaranteed to come to glory so that we would manifest His praise.
If you have trusted in Christ as your Savior, then God has secured your position and equipped you with all the power and resources you need for life on this earth. We know that believers cannot lose their salvation because God promised us an eternal inheritance. We do however, lose our effectiveness when our focus shifts from the Savior to self. “Remember Jesus” and stay focused on Him. Allow your relationship with Him and the power that already exists in you to be manifested in your life as the Holy Spirit empowers you to obey the Word of God.
If you simply open your eyes and become more aware of what you already possess in Christ, you will find that God has equipped you with all you need. Walking in obedience to the Scripture will provide the fulfillment you seek. Stop wasting time trying to pursue that which God has already supplied. Instead, pray that your eyes would be enlightened so that you gain the wisdom and understanding necessary to put into practice what you already know and possess.
The more aware you are of your eternal riches in Christ, the more your life will display God’s mighty power that is already present and working in you.