Strength in Numbers

Editor’s note: The posts you’ll read this month will all center around the word “perissos” as found in Ephesians 3:20 and John 10:10. In the future, we’ll offer a greater variety and breadth of scripture, but we wanted to explore some of the depths of these two passages first. 

Think about the manifestation of the Spirit’s power. What do you imagine? Bright lights and fire raining down? The earth rumbling? Darkness covering the land? That’s what I’m usually tempted to imagine, especially when I read Ephesians 3:16: “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

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Photo credit: Kelly Sampson

After 20something years, I somehow still envision that the world God creates for me here will just be brighter, shinier, more “powerful” somehow than the work He’s been doing in and through my life over the last several years.

After all, I generally find myself overwhelmed by the day to day. Work, schedule, relationship, the general hum of my mental to-do lists and self-doubt — it’s all too much, and I’m desperately crying out for God in those little moments. See, I’m over here trapped under a pile of papers to grade and a calendar filled with too many commitments, looking for fire to lead me by night or (like I’m Moses) a glimpse of the shadow of the Most High.

And yet, this big work God is doing in the world? This same God who can do more abundantly than we can ask or imagine? His work is to strengthen you. And yes, it’s even to strengthen me — perhaps especially in those little moments where I find myself crying out most. Between verse 16 and verse 20 where the word perissos finally shows up, we see this breathtakingly beautiful portrait of God’s majestic work in this world.

Paul seamlessly transitions from the Spirit’s strengthening power to God Himself rooting and grounding us in love, in order that we may comprehend just how abundant His love is.

And you see, that comprehension? It’s not happening alone. You don’t have to wander out into some desert, wrapped in a blanket to encounter God, #socality style. (Though He certainly may be there.) No, we’re being strengthened to understand “with all the saints.”

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Here He is — showing up in our daily interactions with one another.

Sure, He’s there on Sunday night and during that perfect quiet time at the church retreat, but He is strengthening us with His great love even now — through and alongside one another. Together, we’re showing each other the love of Christ, in the most mundane tasks — in bringing a friend a meal, in carving out 10 minutes from our schedule to chat on the phone, in doing the dishes after dinner at a friend’s, in snuggling with that new baby so his parents can eat with both hands.

Participating in these tiny moments are part of what’s calling us back to being rooted in Him, over and over and over again. Because hearing (or reading a blog about) about Christ’s love is one thing, but actually experiencing it? Well that’s a whole ‘nother, life-changing, world-shaping thing. As verse 19 (Amplified Bible) says, the whole point is so “[that we may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience].”

He’s rooting us and grounding us in the love of Christ; He’s using the lives of his saints to help one another understand His boundless love and this — well, this is His grand, wild work in the world. And this God with the insanely close attention to the details of strengthening us each and every day? This is the same God who can do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.

So while God’s abundance and the Spirit’s power manifesting in my life and in yours may just look like answering seemingly impossible prayers, it also looks like helping me love that person who seems unlovable, and rooting you when you feel most blown about, and reminding us of His constant, quiet provision for us in and through the lives of His saints. And in each of those moments, may our lives reflect His very abundance poured out for the world.

Written by Elizabeth Sallie

Elizabeth Sallie

Elizabeth Sallie delights in iced coffee, the Book of Common Prayer, donuts, and great natural light, which you (definitely) know already if you follow her on instagram. She loves kids in D.C. and wants to see them come to know Jesus and his great love.

About Elizabeth Sallie

Elizabeth Sallie delights in iced coffee, the Book of Common Prayer, donuts, and great natural light, which you (definitely) know already if you follow her on instagram. She loves kids in D.C. and wants to see them come to know Jesus and his great love.

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