Tag Archive: growth


Love = Miracle Gro, Pt. 2

In my previous post, I started to look at Paul’s Apostolic Prayer found in Ephesians 3:16-19. Here’s the passage:

Ephesians 3:16-19:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

I love the way in which the New International Version words this passage. Some words that stand out to me are: strengthen, rooted, established, love, wide, long, high, deep.

I think that Paul had an image in his mind of some spiritual reality when he prayed this prayer. There are two very clear possibilities that I see (though I’m sure there are more) for the image that is being presented by the phrase “rooted and established”: a tree and the foundation of a house. Whether we are speaking of  a house or  a tree, the “soil” around us is love.

I think that Paul had a tree in mind, and here are some reasons why I think so:

1. The ultimate purpose of being “rooted and established” is found in the final words of the verse: “…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (emphasis mine). The language is one of drawing “power,” “Strength,” and, “the fullness of God” from God.

2. In the prayer, Paul is asking that the church in Ephesus be given stability by God. We know this because he asks that they may be strengthened. Houses don’t gain their stability as much from the soil as they do from their own foundations. Trees, however, gain almost all of their stability from the quality and depth of the soil. Without good soil, your roots will be ineffective.

In either case, Paul prays that we might be established in love.

My next question is: “Whose love is the soil?” At first glance, there is some ambiguity as to whether or not the love Paul speaks of is ours or Christ’s. Looking at verse 18 tells me that this love is Christ’s. There is deep, deep earth beneath our feet here. We aren’t being planted or built upon some sort of sandbox which is only a couple of feet deep. We’re being planted in the love of an infinite God. This love is wider, longer, higher, and deeper than we can even understand with God himself helping us to fathom it.

So, looking at the passage again, we see that the ideal “growth environment” for our faith is to know the love of Christ that is deep within our “inner being.” Our Spiritual “Miracle Gro” is Christ’s love.

Past all of the images and ideas, what does all of this look like? Well, look for my next post and you’ll find  out!

This post is part of a series. To view the previous post, click here. To view the next post, click here.

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Love = Miracle Gro, Pt. 1

Ephesians 3:16-19:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Recently I decided to take a look at the Apostolic Prayers of the New Testament. I chose to study eight of these passages. There are more prayers offered up by Paul and more prayers offered up by the other Apostles which are recorded in the New Testament, but I found these eight to be the most direct and easy to approach.

With that said, here are my thoughts upon the first one: Ephesians 3:16-19.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (v 16-17a).”

From this I draw several conclusions.

First of all, our God is so kingly and so mighty that he uses riches, not resources. In human terms, God doesn’t deal in dimes and nickels. He’s the kind of guy who has a wallet stuffed with $100 bills. Not only this, but he can afford to just pay for things out of excess! If he went to a restaurant, he could just slap down four or five of his bills and effortlessly pick up the tab for the entire restaurant. And at the end, he would say “it’s ok, keep the $67.85 in change. I’m no where near running out of cash.” Only God can be loose with his spiritual money and not be guilty of wastefulness due to the treasure trove of riches he has at hand. And it is a looseness with his spiritual riches that Paul prays for here. That the Lord would literally dump “power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

Secondly, I want to ask the question, “what does it look like to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in our inner being?” The answer, I believe comes after Paul finishes his prayer, in verse 20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory…” (Emphasis mine). I pray that we might develop the habit of looking introspectively on a regular basis to see where the Lord is at work within us. It is a Christian precept that the Holy Spirit abides within Christians. Paul is asking for a veritable explosion of powerful work by the Holy Spirit in the lives of the Ephesian Christians. In such a way that they would not be able to deny that something craaaaaazy was going on inside of themselves and that it was not their imagination; that they could see where they were and where the are now thanks to what God has done.

Finally, I want to look at the intent of this prayer (a brief glance will show that Ephesians 3:16-19 is comprised of three complementary prayers). Why? “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” The working model would look something like this: God sends his Spirit (the Holy Spirit, which IS power) into a believer’s life. The Spirit brings a both a significant internal transformation and a marked increase in spiritual power to a believer. The believer, seeing more and more what the Spirit is doing, will naturally have more and more faith (we are human and our faith is wobbly and weak at times). This whole process will strengthen the believer as a whole, which brings us back to the beginning of verse 16, “…he may strengthen you with power…” The end result being a believer (and a group of believers [“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”; “hearts” being plural]) who is experiencing an influx of supernatural power thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit and who responds to this influx with ever-strengthening trust not only in the existence of God, but in the reliability of God to help him when in times of trouble or adversity.

Whew! In the next post we’ll be looking at why I titled this series of posts “Love = Miracle Gro. Thanks for reading and I pray that the Lord would make this prayer of the Apostle Paul true in the life of anyone who reads this post!

This post is part of a series. To view the next post, click here.