20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Paul closes out this section of his letter with an undeniable truth: God is more powerful than man. I appreciate that he mentions that God’s abilities are beyond all that we ask or think. I’m thankful to have a God like that. If this wasn’t true, then He really wouldn’t be God, would He? I think that living in this world, there are many distractions around us that try to pull us away from this truth. In church we talk about “serving other gods” but I don’t think we usually grasp what exactly that means. I mean, first of all, we don’t call anything else “God” other than “God,” do we? Sometimes we liken ourselves to God or “a” god. For me, these teachings point out the fact that we serve other “gods”.
Going back to something I’ve mentioned before, the creation is designed to serve the creator. If we look at it in human terms, if we create something (artwork, machinery, toys, etc) it is designed to serve us in some fashion. This could be in the form of functionality in our daily lives, it could be just to “look nice” and hang on a wall, or we sell it. Either way, it serves the one who created it (or maybe there is more than one creator, it serves them all). I totally see an opening to talk about the triune God again, but I don’t want to digress from my point. What happens to those things we create that don’t serve the purpose we intended it to serve? We might get rid of it, we could try to “fix” it. We could find another useful purpose for it. What did God do for us when we refused to serve Him? He sent us the opportunity to serve Him.
You see, if the creation has the opportunity to be purposeful in the eyes of the creator, the creator will take care of it, will keep it shiny, will protect it. If it doesn’t serve a purpose for the creator, it may very well sit in the closet for years getting rusty and dirty until it falls apart and it expires, departing from the presence of the creator all together. The creator kept it for as long as possible, hoping for the opportunity to use it, but the creation never lived up to its potential. By Christ dying on the cross, our brokenness was given a second chance. He gave us all the opportunity to live up to the purpose He designed us for.
In the last bit of verse 20, Paul talks about the power that works within us. In talking about a manmade creation, this makes me think of a table lamp. It “works” but it isn’t truly functional or purposeful without being “plugged in” to a power source, since it is meant to produce light. Sure, it may look nice just sitting there, but it isn’t living up to its full potential without power working within it. Similarly, without His Spirit living in us, we cannot live up to our potential or fulfill the purpose we were designed for. A lamp that is not producing light just gets in the way. Have you ever tried to put a lamp in a closet or storage area? The shade makes it awkward to fit in a space, you have to make sure it doesn’t break, you can’t stack them, it’s just a mess! But sit it somewhere in the house, plug it in and turn it on, everyone delights in it. It wasn’t designed to just sit somewhere, it was designed to get plugged in, lit up, and be of service to its creator and others.
If we serve other things in this world, we are just a lamp in a closet: taking up space, making things difficult, and waiting to be thrown away. Who would want to live their life like this? I guess the reason why I get so adamant about it is because I lived this way for far too long. I hate to see people wasting their purpose, their potential by serving other things. We seek out making money, paying a mortgage, making others happy, feeding an addiction. It’s all distraction from God. If you seek Him out, the rest will fall away.
What are you serving today that is distracting you from getting plugged in? Why aren’t you living up to your potential? Are you just waiting to be thrown away?