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Knowing God, Knowing His Power – Part 1

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.

Ephesians 1:17-20

Words are fantastic tools for communication. But, sometimes our words fail us. When someone has done something unusually wonderful for us, "Thank you" doesn't seem adequate. "Thank you very much" seems pretty weak as well. So, often we end up heaping words on top of words to convey the magnitude of our gratitude: "Oh, thank you so much. I am very, very, very thankful. This is great. Thank you. Thank you."

In Paul's prayer for the recipients of the letter we know as Ephesians, he does something very similar to this. As you may recall, Paul had already prayed that we would know God better, including the hope we have in him and the fact that we are his treasured inheritance. In verses 19-20, he adds one further request, "[I pray that you may know God better . . .] and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead."

As we have seen time and again in Ephesians 1, English translators struggle to render Paul's exuberant Greek into coherent English. The NIV does this in our passage by putting a period after "believe" and starting a new sentence. In the original language, however, we have one long, connected thought, which reads something like this: "and what is the exceeding greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the energetic working of the might of his strength." You'll notice there are four words here with more or less the same meaning: power, working, might, and strength. Why is Paul heaping up the synonyms? Because he wants to underscore the exceeding greatness of God's power, what the NIV rightly renders as "his incomparably great power."

To put it more casually, God's power is really, really, really, really great. Did you catch that? I said God's strength is mighty strong. God's power exceeds our ability to grasp it, not to mention find words to represent it. Yet, Paul's prayer assumes that we can, in some way, know God's power. We can experience it, to an extent. We can understand it, in part. Thus, we join Paul in praying for the knowledge of God's power as we grow to know God better.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of God's power, what comes to mind? Where in your life would you like to see God's power at work?

PRAYER: Almighty God, the word "almighty" doesn't begin to represent your might adequately, but it does point in the right direction. You are powerful. You are energetic. You are mighty. You are strong. Help me, I pray, to know you as a God of incomparably great power. May I live today, and every day, in light of this knowledge. Amen.

Images sourced via Creative Commons.

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