No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, there is always cause to praise the Savior. Comes in a pack of 10.
“Certainly one of the great doxologies of Paul’s Epistles is found in Ephesians 3:20-21. Paul praises God in superlative language.
Not only is He the able God, but He is able to do what we ask or think.
Not only is He able to do what we ask or think, He is able to do beyond what we ask or think.
Not only is He able to do beyond what we ask or think, He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.
Paul’s emphasis is clearly on a great and mighty God who has power to answer prayer.
Paul continues by saying that this ability of God is according to the power that works in us. I believe this is the same power mentioned in 1:19, “The exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe.” This power is the same power that raised Christ from the dead (1:20). So, at work in us is the power of God, the same power that brought life out of death and victory out of (seeming) defeat.
God demonstrates His power so that He will receive the glory in the Church (Eph. 3:21). His power always works in accordance with His purposes. Throughout the generations since Paul wrote this, God has sought glory in the Church. The question today is: “How is God displaying His power?” How would we recognize it? Some think that God’s power is displayed in the miraculous, the sensational, or the unusual. I believe that such a display is not the only way that God works.
I am convinced that the context of the doxology provides us with a clear understanding of one way God wonderfully works. In Ephesians 4:1, Paul writes, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord.” Paul is in prison for preaching “the Mystery of the Gospel” (Eph. 6:19). Isn’t that interesting? Paul has just praised the God Who has the ability to do great things. Surely, we have not misunderstood Paul. Yet, Paul is in prison. Where is the power on display? Where is the miraculous might manifested at this moment?
The answer is in Paul’s attitude. The answer is his perspective on his apparently unchangeable circumstances. Paul is in prison confined “in or near the barracks of the Praetoreian Guard or in rental quarters at his own expense for two years.” * As a human being, Paul could have responded in any number of ways to his confinement. He could have become bitter about his decision to appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:11). He could have felt powerless against the mighty Roman Empire. He could have felt trapped, a victim of circumstances. He could have indulged in self pity: “Why me, Lord? I’ve been serving You, and this is how I am treated?” He could have become discouraged and given up preaching the gospel. He could have become resentful of those who were free to preach. He could also have developed a hatred for those Jews who had caused his imprisonment.
Yet, none of these attitudes was evident in the great Apostle of Grace. Paul did not respond to his situation in his own power or wisdom. He viewed his confinement empowered by Him “Who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond what we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). God’s power so worked in Paul’s life that he could say, “I am the Lord’s prisoner. I am here because He has allowed it. I am no victim. I am not stuck. The sovereign Lord, the One Who is ‘far above all rule and authority and power and dominion’ is Lord of my life and circumstances.”
God’s power was on display in the attitude of Paul. He had the proper perspective. God’s power did eventually free Paul from prison. But I think Paul’s attitude toward his imprisonment was as much a display of God’s power as was his deliverance from prison. How often do we think of joyful attitudes in unpleasant situations as a display of God’s power? Most often we look out there at the situation to see if it has changed. More often we need to look to see if God has changed us and our attitudes toward the situations we face.
It is so easy for us to become unhappy, irritated, or resentful about this or that unchangeable circumstance.
Perhaps you are facing such a situation, and you have prayed for God to change it. Maybe He will. But, as with Paul, the great manifestation of the power of God in us may be our triumphant spirit in the midst of what looks like defeat.”