Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Eph. 6:10d “. . .and in the power. . .”
“Be strengthened continuously” is passive voice, present tense; weak in ourselves, we must receive strength ceaselessly. “In”–not primarily “from” or “by”–“the Lord;” empowering is available to us due to our union with Christ, and is triggered by intimacy with God, investing time, and maintaining focus.
The word translated here as “power” refers to active, dynamic energy. God’s strength is not solely to be contemplated, admired, and discussed. It is meant to energize, to flow and be readily available to us. Believers who live in despair and defeat have never grasped this first, fundamental principle.
Any form of energy is of no avail if it is unharnessed, affects nothing, and produces no visible results. God does not want His strength to lie dormant. He yearns for it to be conspicuously manifest, obviously revealed.
The normal Christian life is one in which God’s “power” is actively demonstrated. Our everyday lives should be arenas wherein God’s “power” is displayed for the eyes of others. People should see in us outward results achievable solely by the Spirit’s power. Victories should be common, supplications often granted. Sins should be crumbling, anxieties and depressions lessening, kindnesses increasing. Events should happen in our lives which can only be explained by one word–God. His “power” flowing through us is to be the norm.
Eph. 6:10e “. . .of his. . .”
“His” places the emphasis where it belongs–on Him, the Lord. The “power” is “His” and flows only from Him. The Lord forces us to find strength solely in Him for at least three reasons. First, for His own glory. Remember Dr. Blackaby’s beloved verse, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (PS 50:15).
Second, to enhance His relationship with us. By our repeatedly calling on God when in trouble, repeatedly being delivered, and repeatedly glorifying Him, we learn the habit of always turning to Him when in trouble. Difficulties can thus become built-in reminders for us to spend quality time with God, and can actually enhance our relationship with Him.
Third, for our comfort. By knowing the strength is in God, we can always be confident, whatever the dilemma. If we had to find strength in ourselves, we would regularly face situations we deemed impossible, and thus be defeated before we started.
The “power” is “His.” Keep your heart turned toward, and tuned into, Him. Victorious Christians engage in what old-timers called practicing the presence of God. Translated into practical terms, this means ceaseless prayer (1 TH 5:17) offered in an atmosphere of vital communion (JN 15:5).
In prayer, commune. Christians do not believe words in and of themselves have mystical powers. Our faith is in God, not magic. George Mueller, a powerful expert in prayer, repeatedly said the first thing we must do in prayer is to realize the presence of God. In prayer, words are vital, but not as important as the atmosphere. We should not begin a private prayer by speaking immediately. Before talking, meditate. Before conversing, commune. Ponder all that is ours due to our heavenly seat; consider the fact we sit near Jesus.
Even after the prayer is begun, our words must continue to rise from a sensed consciousness of God’s presence. Prayer thrives best when its primary focus is kept away from our pressing problem, the at-hand supplication, and turned instead toward the Lord. Our finest prayers contain much adoration and praise, for these terms of endearment accent His worth and reveal we understand the importance of a sensed intimate, personal relationship with God.
Without a constant sense of vital communion with God, our communications rise no higher than the ceiling. Realizing His nearness, sensing His presence, is more important than anything we can say. Acknowledge what we sing:
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou near by.
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.
Without His divine company, our phrases and His power fade into nothingness.
Eph. 6:10f “. . .might.”
Whereas “power” emphasized energy actively flowing from God, the word translated here as “might” refers to the huge reservoir of strength inherent in God. This highlights the vast, immeasurable quantity of strength in Him waiting for us to use. Humbly note, the stockpile is in God, not us. He alone is strong. We are weakness incarnate. Nevertheless, weary pilgrims, plenty of strength is to be had. God’s “might” is ours, and we all need every bit of it.
Saints involved in daily and hourly struggles with inward and outward temptations have no trouble confessing we need huge amounts of “power.” Our paramount necessity is to access God’s “might.” When we tap this reserve, the unlimited supply makes its recipient invincible, as God’s child should be.
”Might” tells us the supply is infinite, “power” tells us the strength is usable. Both truths are vital. How we view God’s strength makes all the difference. Let me illustrate this by comparing an oak tree and a horse. An oak tree has “might”; it is strong enough to withstand a hurricane. However, its strength is passive, and thus it has no “power” to put forth to perform a task for us. A horse, on the other hand, is not as mighty against the storm as a tree, but has “power” to put forth, energy to give us. Some see God’s strength as only like the oak tree’s, vast quantity but not much accessible. Others view God’s strength solely like the horse’s, accessible but not much quantity. Fortunately for believers, the best of both comparisons, oak and horse, applies.
God’s strength is both infinite and usable. Tapping “might” which produces invigorating, victory bestowing “power” is feasible, a viable and realistic possibility. To claim this for the “average” Christian is not ridiculous, theoretical, or abstract, but rather reasonable, practical, and concrete.
The huge amount and ready availability of God’s strength in us is already a proven fact, having been demonstrated in each believer’s life. We know the strength potentially available to each of us is infinite, for Paul told us (1:19-20) the power offered to us is the same immeasurable, infinite power God exerted in raising Jesus from the dead. We know the strength is usable, accessible, for its energizing influence was obviously activated and openly displayed in our regeneration. Without God’s “power” we could have never been saved. We who were dead in trespasses and sins have been quickened, lifted from death to life, and will never need more “power” than was required for this.
God’s infinite and usable strength is ours for the taking, but we must not be presumptuous. The command to be strong is a call to prepare ourselves.
With God’s help, we must each implement a pyramid of power. Ground the foundation in investing time. On this seek intimacy with God. Then confess our weakness and acknowledge “the power of His might.” Make focus the capstone; apply to specific situations what we know. There is no victory apart from groundwork. The unprepared believer will become the defeated believer.