December 22, 2010

Immeasurably More Than All We Ask Or Imagine

The first line of the doxology at the end of Ephesians chapter 3 is one of those passages some of us memorized in the King James version (as young people) and never forgot: “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think…”

The NIV translates it this way: “Now unto 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.” –Ephesians 3: 20, 21.

I have seen preachers bring entire congregations to their feet by reciting these two verses. Everyone seemed to think they would get more, more, and more of whatever they have imagined they would like. Actually, the idea here is that I may get something very different from what I am asking, something so different that I would never imagine it, never think to ask for it, and possibly have a hard time recognizing it.. I will get what God imagines for me.

It can be a little scary to know that God will do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine. In this verse, He’s not promising to just give more of what I want; He’s offering to give me something radically different from what I would ask for –“above all I can ask or think”—and, after all, His ways aren’t my ways. His ways are better, higher, and more glorious. My imaginings are pretty well set in some areas, and I have a pretty clear idea of what I think I want. At times, I am pretty satisfied with what I am imagining and thinking. In fact, I’m usually thinking if I get what I ask for, I’ll be all blessed and happy.

The promise of this prayer is His glory---not mine. How can I really know what is for God’s glory? I may have a general idea here and there, but He will take me above and beyond my ideas for His glory. I need to be willing to go there. As His power works within me, I will take His word and His leading that what happens in and through my life is for his glory…above and beyond anything I would think of doing, asking for, seeking, or expecting.

The final words of this doxology explain its purpose: … to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.”

It sounds great, wonderful, chaotic, disorienting, and eternally powerful. This is one of those “buckle up before you say it” prayers. “...to Him be glory in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.” In a short sentence, there is my purpose for prayer and for life.

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