“And to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.” Eph. 3:19-21
I like to think of myself as an optimistic person. My glass is half-full, and all that. I’m pretty positive about life in general and I believe that good things are ahead, so I’ve always liked this passage. And who doesn’t? The part about God being able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think is super cool. In churches, we’ve used that verse as a motivator to get people to do things that seem out of reach. We want to dream big, fund building projects, and have people show up in large numbers for special events. I have to wonder, though, is a positive outlook, impressive attendance, big dreams, and buildings what Paul meant? Was Paul giving the church a great quote to put on a poster they could hang in a Sunday School class to promote high attendance Sunday, or did he mean something else?
We like the idea that God is able to bless us in ways we can’t imagine, but we’re less excited about the thought of Him using us in ways we haven’t already considered for ourselves. We say that we want to know Him more, but, truth be told, many of us think we know Him pretty well already. We invite Him to do good things, big things even, but not necessarily fullness-of-God things.
If the Messiah’s love surpasses knowledge, then how can you know it? I don’t know, but God is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or think. When we allow Him to make His love a reality in our lives, then we become filled with all the fullness of God. It’s a little scary if you think about it. What does that even look like, to be filled with all the fullness of God, whose love surpasses knowledge and who is able to do far more than we can even imagine?
I love this line from the movie, The Hunger Games: “Hope, it is the only thing more powerful than fear. A little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it is contained.” Ephesians 3:19-21 does not describe a spark that is contained by even the most challenging human ideas and vision.
And so we need to ask ourselves, what do we want for 2013? Will we be content with a little hope, our little glass that’s half-full, or will we embrace the danger that is in God’s overflowing cup? Let’s be filled with all the fullness of God this year, for the glory of God, who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think, according to His power that is at work in us.