By unpacking Ephesians 3:20-21, we can discover at least 3 principles that mean God is about to do far more than you can even ask for or imagine.
1. If You Are Truly Following the Real Jesus, He’s Always Going to Do More Than You Can Even Ask for or Imagine
Our key passage for this article is Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV). It states:
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 glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Our eyes are immediately drawn to the phrase “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” But that’s not the way this verse starts. The first words we need to accept are “Now to him.” Who is this “him”? When you go back to Ephesians 3:14-19, you see that Paul is talking specifically about God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
He prayed to God the Father that God the Holy Spirit would open their minds to the love of God the Son. This is crucial to recognize because if you are believing in a false “him,” then you will never experience his power “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”
Millions of people think they are believing in Jesus but they are believing in “a” Jesus they’ve created in their own mind and not the actual Jesus who came to earth, died for our sins, rose from the grave, and who now sits at the Father’s right hand (Galatians 1:6-9, Matthew 7:21-23).
If you want Jesus’s power to work in your life, you must submit to the full truth as taught in the Holy Scriptures about Jesus. Therefore, before you get to experience Ephesians 3:20-21, you first need to know who this passage is actually talking about, which is why we must first pray like Paul in Ephesians 3:14-19 that we might truly know Jesus.
2. If You Are Submitting to His Power at Work Within You, He’s Always Going to Do More Than You Can Even Ask for or Imagine
Again, that phrase “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” is so blindingly beautiful that we often gloss over what the rest of this passage actually says. But notice the phrase that comes directly after this promise, which is “according to his power that is at work within us . . .”
We don’t get to attach our own meaning to God’s promises. God has truly promised to do far more than we can even request or think about, but this is not a blank check that we can fill in with whatever we want. No, God is the one who is writing this check, for it is “according to his power,” not our power.
One reason God will do more than all we imagine or ask for is because our imagination and prayer requests are often so earthly and self-focused:
- “God, please grant me a spouse. Then I will be happy.”
- “Lord, please grant me a raise at work. I know more money will bring me peace.”
- “Father, please restore that relationship so my life will make sense again.”
God will always surprise us because the Spirit will always crucify our fleshly desires that we thought we wanted and needed. It’s always surprising when your idols fail you.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to pray for a spouse, to pray for a raise, or to pray for a restored relationship. You can want these good things without idolizing them. Who knows, God may actually give you a spouse faster than you expected or give you a relationship that is even better than you thought it could be. God may actually give you even more money than you had hoped for. God may bring that person back into your life. Or, he may not.
If he doesn’t answer your prayer the way you had hoped, it’s because he’s going to do something even better in your life according to his power, not ours. And most importantly, the ultimate thing he will do that you did not expect is to fill your heart so powerfully with his love for you that you could not even imagine how good it will feel (Ephesians 3:19).
3. If You Are Bringing God Glory Through Your Participation in the Universal Church Through Jesus Christ, God Is Preparing to Do More Than You Can Even Ask for or Imagine
Our key passage ends with the lines, “. . . to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Material things are temporal and fading, thus they can only give a temporal and fading pleasure. I’m not saying material blessings should be unappreciated. A part of God’s blessing and provision certainly does include the material here on this earth (Matthew 6:11, Matthew 5:45, 1 Timothy 6:17).
But no one says on their deathbed, “I wish I had a better car when I was alive.” No one says, “I wasted my life because I spend too much time loving my family and friends.” When your life is about to be over, no one sheds a tear because of the destruction the moth and rust have caused to their material possession. When our days come to an end on this earth, the regrets we will have will be because of our lack of love for other people and our lack of love for God (Matthew 6:19-21).
If you want to experience the power of God to give you things that are even better than the things you could ask for or imagine, then you must seek to bring God glory through loving his church and through loving him through Jesus Christ working in you.
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