On Wednesday, we finished a two-part series with the students called, Do Hard Things. I got my idea for the series from a book by the same name.
In the first week, I shared from 1 Timothy 4:12. We talked about how society puts low expectations on teens and they often live up to those standards (i.e. goof-off, do enough to just get by, etc.). We challenged them to not only break through those low expectations, but as Paul says to Timothy, “set an example for others.”
This week I dealt with Ephesians 3:20-21. Paul tells the believers at Ephesus that God is able to do beyond what they can imagine. The problem is, however, that something happens to us as we grow up: our dreams die. There are several ways this can occur:
- Our dreams are forgotten
- Our dreams are rationalized
- Our dreams are stolen
To avoid this, we need to keep our imaginations alive. We need to dream big. Andrew Lincoln, in the Word Biblical Commentary on Ephesians says the following about this passage:
Something of the force of the writer’s rhetoric can be captured by showing the build-up of the thought reflected by his language. God is said to be able to do what believers ask in prayer; he is able to do what they might fail to ask but what they can think; he is able to do all (panta) they ask or think; he is able to do above all (huper panta) they ask or think; he is able to do abundantly above all (perissou huper panta) they ask or think; he is able to do more abundantly above all (ekperissou huper panta) they ask or think; he is able to do infinitely more abundantly above all (uperekperissou huper panta) they ask or think. And what is more, says the writer, this inexpressible power is at work within us!
What can you imagine? God can do even greater things.
But what about this power? According to Paul it’s already at work within us! In fact, Paul has already referred to “power” in this letter.
- Chapter 1:18-23 – Power to raise Christ over everything.
- Chapter 2:1-6 – Power to raise us up with Christ.
- Chapter 2:7-9 – Power to show us grace.
- Chapter 2:10 – Power to give us purpose.
The power Paul refers to is the power to bring us into right relationship with Him. It’s the power to show us mercy and extend his grace to us. It’s the power to give us meaning and direction in life.
This power is alive and at work within each of us. Our responsibility is to break out of low expectations. Recognize and allow that power to work within us.