Co-Working with God

“…strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being… ” (Ephesians 3:16)

Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:16-17

Paul asks that God, out of the riches of his glory, may grant his readers to “be strengthened with power through his Spirit” in their inner being, so that “Christ might dwell” in their hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:16-17). His prayer is essentially – in this first part anyway – a prayer for the increase in their faith.

These two verses provide one of the most helpful insights in the New Testament concerning our role and God’s in the spiritual life. Often, sincere Christians are perplexed by what they are to do as they seek to live in Christ. Should they leave everything to Christ, or should they simply seek his blessing upon their activities as they go about them every day? As has been said, a small error here can have drastic consequences.

Paul helps us to see that in the Christian life, both God and we work together. Here, in seeking a deeper life with God for his readers, the action begins with Paul. It begins with him praying to God about it. In this case, it involves asking God to “strengthen with power through the Holy Spirit” the “inner being” of the Ephesians. Paul recognises that the faith he is seeking for them is a gift of God, a gift that comes through the Holy Spirit working powerfully in their “inner being”.

So yes, in the spiritual life, there is total dependence upon God. But there is also something God requires of us: he wants us to ask him for what we need. In reality, even the urge to do that (in response to his Spirit working in us), comes from him. In that respect, it can be said that everything begins with God. But it involves us as well.

Looking to God in dependent, expectant prayer for his grace through the Spirit is our first work. Knowing our needs, acknowledging our needs, and asking in response to that needs is where we get involved. But next, note that in this request that Paul makes, he asks that the Spirit would empower the “inner being” of his readers. That refers to the mind, affections and will – all that makes up our inner person, our heart. The mind is strengthened when it sees more clearly and certainly, the heart when it feels deeply and rightly toward things, and the will when it is given the fibre to do what is right. 

The faith that he is praying for is something that his readers must exercise. They are to believe, to trust, to embrace as real and certain things they cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). This, again, is the human part of this process. But it is in effect a co-working with God to do what we cannot do by ourselves.

That is typically how our life with God goes. It is not all left up to God, but neither is it all within our power. More on this next time.

 Closing Thoughts:

  • Do you struggle to know what God requires of you and what he has to do in your life with him?
  • Does this passage help you see how both God and you are involved?

– Andrew Young