Paul encourages us to go to heights and depths. That is going to be messy for a human!
Many times in Ephesians Paul encourages his readers not to be discouraged by his imprisonment. That his imprisonment is leading to fruit and he's trusting God to work through it. And He did! We see the fruit of Paul's letters written in prison.
So, I can’t miss this opportunity. What “prison” are you in right now? Stop and think. Right now. Could where you are right now, be an answer to God’s unfolding plan that he’s had all along?
It just does not look like you thought it would?
Ephesians 3:14-19 is my favorite prayer in all of Scripture. I pray it over my students all the time. I pray for any class I teach results in this. It also comes with a roller coaster of emotions as you work out this prayer in your life, realistically. Notice He prays (according to GOD’S riches in glory, not yours) for you to be strengthened (16). That means you are going to feel and experience weakness. He is telling you to expect it here! He prays that Christ may dwell in your heart, through faith. Faith defined in Hebrews 11:1 is on your end, through grace, on His end. That is messy! It is called ‘working it out’ for a reason.
If you go to the depths he is talking about, you are going to feel the depths. Have compassion for yourself in those depths. They are revealing all the things you need to know to move to the next steps in your process of becoming who He has for you to become (Ephesians 2:10). The depths of the more ‘negative’ feelings reveal your value, they teach you. If you are lonely, it reveals you value community and connection and that is missing for you. don’t judge it, just seek it out. Another example might be guilt. You give yourself a hard time for eating a certain way, or not moving. Your value is health, and being a good steward of your body. To look at our depths in this way draws lessons out of our experiences that teach us and guide us towards God's will.
I would love to gift you with the 90-minute teaching I did on Ephesians 3 & 4 as part of my recent Bible study that ended last week on Ephesians. It is now under the recordings section of my site located at the bottom of the newsletter if you want the whole 4 session study. Click below to listen to the third session for free.