Chapter Six: Realizing the Full Potential of God’s Ability

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21

I hope you’ve been as encouraged as I have in studying this prayer over the last five weeks. “Paul covers every aspect of the normal Christian life in this prayer.” As I have read over this prayer many times now, I’m afraid that it doesn’t always describe my “normal.” Too many times we find ourselves letting the flesh take over and enslave us again to fear, anxiety, and strife. BUT GOD! He has provided a way through Christ Jesus to give us the victory ALL the time, allowing us to experience His power and abundant life which is meant to be the norm for us.

Last week we studied verse 19 about “being filled up to all the fullness of God.” There is nothing that will fill us up to eternal satisfaction apart from God. Everything else is temporary at best. “How little is man compared to God and all God’s creation! Yet, God offers to man all of the fullness of Who He is.”

“Do you run here and there, but never run to God? Do you continue to tap into a book, a seminar, a conference, a counselor, and avoid tapping into His divine ability which He has offered to you freely through the Lord Jesus Himself? Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. When you allow God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit to fill you, you are letting Jesus be God in your life. If He is resident in you, then the fullness of the Godhead is resident in you as well.”

Verse 20 says He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond all that we could ever ask or think according to the power that works within us.” That last phrase is important because it is conditional to the previous verses. “At what point does He manifest His ability? God moves when the Holy Spirit empowers us, when Christ dwells within us, when Christ’s love has conquered us, and when His fullness has filled us. At this point of surrender, the exceeding abundantly great things of God’s ability become evident in our lives.”

“Paul’s prayer did not begin with this verse, but Paul covered a lot of ground before making this statement [about God’s ability]. This ability is beyond our comprehension. Are you bitter? Are you angry, upset? Are you worried, anxious? God can correct that attitude and emotion if you will tap into His ability. Come to the One Whom God has sent you, the One who represents all the fullness of God. Tap into Him and allow Him full control of your life. Learn to surrender, learn to be strengthened in the power of the Spirit in the inner man. Agree with God that you have no ability apart from His ability.”

“God is interested in our availability, not our ability.”

Wayne A. Barber

We tend to limit God by “doing [our] own thing, planning [our] future, living a life of independence. Do you live life as if everything depends on you and your ability to get the job done? [God] accomplishes His work through people who are willing to join Him in what He’s doing, not through people who are busy doing their own thing.”

Jesus has never stopped working. He is simply inviting us to participate in what He continues to do. Are we participating with Him? “God is able” (verse 20). “The verb is in the middle voice [indicating] that the subject [God] initiates the ability and participates in the ongoing result of Him choosing to be able in you and me. The problem is we do not choose to participate in HIs ability within us.” So, we see that we must cooperate with Him in order to experience the life He has for us.

He wants to “raise our quality of faith to the level where we will stand on what God says, not on what people think or the opinions of man.” The victory has been won at the cross! “Victory is not us overcoming anyone or anything. Victory is Jesus overcoming us. How does He overcome us? He overcomes us by dwelling at home in every room of our lives and by strengthening us with the power of His Spirit in the inner man. Folks, this is real victory! May we learn in a deeper knowledge, an experiential knowledge, that He is able.”

“Do you realize that the failures in your life are never because of God? Never, never, never! Failure is because of your unwillingness to bow before God. Failure is choosing to limit His power which has been offered to you and His divine ability to do through you what you can never imagine possible. It is truly beyond your imagination.”

“The normal Christian life is a lifestyle, not a church program or a church building. It is people tapping into the divine ability of God and participating in whatever He might initiate in their lives.” Some people may see this as “passivity,” but surrender is NOT passive. The surrendered life is an active, daily dying to self. When we are willing to die to our own agendas, God’s power is unleashed in our lives. We need to get out of the mentality of “doing” or “proving” anything for God. “What God wants to do far surpasses anything that any of us have ever asked or ever thought.”

“We haven’t the courage to take God at His Word because we’re not living in the fullness of what God has already revealed to us. Sure, God is able, but until we choose to allow Christ to dwell in every room of our heart and choose to be empowered by His Spirit and mastered by His love, we limit God’s involvement in each of our lives. God works through people who are fully surrendered. Those are the people through whom He manifests His divine ability.”

Is God’s power free to flow in your life or is something clogging up the flow? Our old flesh will clog up the flow every time. “You will never experience His divine ability apart from obedience.” Surrender is the heart of obedience. “God is going to ask you to join Him in a work that is far beyond anything you have ever thought before. His request will require you to trust Him beyond the point you’ve trusted Him to date.”

Paul ends this beautiful prayer by saying, “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” “The only way to give Christ glory in the Church is to glorify Jesus alone and put no confidence in the flesh.” He is glorified when all aspects of this prayer are experienced. He is glorified when we are filled with Him and not full of ourselves. The final word of Paul’s prayer is “Amen!” Let it be so.

“The normal Christian life is as close as your breath. God’s desire is to live HIs life through you. Remember the chorus, ‘Jesus be Jesus in me. No longer me, but Thee. Resurrection power fill me this hour. Jesus be Jesus in me.’ May His resurrection power fill you this hour and every hour as you surrender to His will and His way moment by moment.”

Chapter 6: Daily Reflections

Day One: Heart of Humility

  1. This week as we close these six weeks of study I want to touch on each aspect of this amazing prayer. Read Ephesians 3:14-21 again to refresh your memory.
  2. What is the posture of Paul’s prayer mentioned in verse 14?
  3. Read 1 Peter 5:6-7. How do you see humility exemplified in this passage? How is this more than a physical posture?

Day Two: Strengthened & Abiding

  1. Paul prays in verse 16 that God would “grant [us], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith.” Read Colossians 1:13-22 and Ephesians 2 to remind yourself of just some of the riches we have in Christ. Remember, God is strengthening us “according” to His riches (not out of). God gives us a gift that is representative of His great wealth. Isn’t it wonderful to know what we have in Christ?
  2. God wants us to experience the strength that only He can give. We can only experience this strength as we die to self and yield to Him in our weaknesses. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. What does Paul say is sufficient for us? How is His power perfected?
  3. Paul prays that we would be strengthened in the inner man for the purpose of Christ “dwelling in our hearts through faith.” If we are strengthened as we yield to Christ in our weaknesses, how does that yielding involve letting Christ be at home in our hearts? Are there areas of your hearts that you need to fully surrender to Christ? How does Revelation 3:20 remind you of letting Christ be at home in your heart? This is the same idea as abiding. As we abide in Him we are strengthened, and He in turn feels comfortable to abide fully at home in our hearts.

Day Three: Foundation of Love

  1. Verses 14-17 of Paul’s prayer are only possible because of the fact stated in verse 17, that as believers, we are rooted and grounded in love. How does Paul describe this love in verses 18-19?
  2. Read Romans 8:37-39. How do these verses compare to Ephesians 3:18-19?
  3. Read Psalm 36:7, Romans 5:8, and 1 John 4:7-10 and record what you learn about God’s love (also expressed through His mercy).

Day Four: Filled to Overflowing

  1. Read Colossians 2:9-10. What dwells in Christ?
  2. Read 2 Peter 1:2-4. What do these verses teach you about what His divine power has granted us? How does this remind you of being filled up to all the fullness of God?
  3. Read John 4:7-14. How does the story of the Samaritan Woman exemplify how Christ wants to fill us with Himself? What happens in our hearts when Jesus fills us according to verse 14?

Day Five: God is Able

  1. Read 2 Corinthians 9:8. What is God able to do according to this verse? (I LOVE this verse!)
  2. Read Jude 1:24. What do you learn about God’s ability?
  3. Lastly, read Jeremiah 32:17. This was one of the memory verses in our recent VBS! God is able to do in and through us what we could never do on our own. I pray you will experience His amazing ability in your life as you surrender your heart to Him. Take some time as we close this study to journal what God has taught you through Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3. It has been an honor to study it with you!
All italicized quotes that are not Scripture quotes or cited from an author, are direct quotes by Wayne A. Barber from the book, "The Surrendered Life."

3 thoughts on “Chapter Six: Realizing the Full Potential of God’s Ability

  1. Hey Stephanie!

    Thank you so much for sending me this series! I can’t wait to read through it. I have saved them all.

    Love you!!

    Heather ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

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