Ephesians 3: 19-4:1
"I pray....that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
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.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."
SUMMARY OF SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
In Ephesians chapters 1-3, Paul focuses on our identity - who we are and what we have in Christ. In chapters 4-6 he then explains how this new identity practically impacts our behaviour and changes how we live.
We've spent a few weeks looking at Ephesians 3: 20 which tells us that God is able to do abundantly, immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. However, the reality is that for most Christians, this verse doesn't match our current experience. We aren't living and experiencing the awesome, abundant life that Jesus says is available. So what is the limiting factor? From the text, I’ve identified 2 main limitations on me experiencing the ‘more’ that God has for me.
The first limitation is: MY CAPACITY TO RECEIVE. The second one is: MY WILLINGNESS TO OBEY. On Sunday morning I had time only to explore the first one. This week, through this devotional, I hope to look at both.
MY CAPACITY TO RECEIVE
Capacity is the ability to contain or the maximum amount something is able to hold.
If God were to give you abundantly more than you currently are experiencing - would you have the capacity to receive it or would it be wasted? Jesus talked about not pouring new wine into old wineskins because they simply don't have the capacity to hold it and the new wine will be wasted.
Paul prays in Eph 3: 19 that they would be "...filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
In other words, there’s capacity or space for more of God in their lives. Or there’s more of God available to them than they have currently made room for in their lives.
Then, Paul moves straight into verse 20: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” (v. 20)
He is able to so much more than what they are currently experiencing. In other words, the limitation is not on His capacity to give. The limitation is on my capacity to receive and contain the fullness of God and all that He wants to do in me and through me.
We this is concept of capacity elsewhere in the Bible e.g. John 2 when Jesus turns water into wine, Luke 5 with the miraculous catch of fish, and 2 Kings 4 with the widow's oil. In each case, God’s provision and power was not determined by His capacity to give but it was limited by their capacity to receive.
So how do I increase my capacity to receive?
(i) ENLARGE WHAT I HAVE: In Isaiah 54: 2-3 God says: 'Enlarge your capacity, create more room, stretch, lengthen, spread out, do not hold back, give me space and I will fill it.'
In the same way, each of us can grow in our capacity to receive, we can stretch our thinking, increase our understanding of who God is and what He has available for us, we can take risks, step out in bold faith, believe for more, read stories and testimonies of those who have seen God do great things, get around people who are experiencing what you want to see in your own life.
Often what we think is our capacity is just our conditioning.
(ii) ELIMINATE WHAT I DON’T NEED: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4: 31)
Remove some things that are taking up space in our lives. When you clear out your house, it doesn't become physically bigger, it’s the same square footage, but there’s more room.
Often our lives get filled with clutter - we let things build up, accumulate and take up space in our lives that reduces our capacity to receive. We need to be intentional about dealing with and clearing them out.
God is drawn to emptiness, He loves to fill whatever space we bring Him.
“Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.” (Psalm 81: 10)