18/03/2017 - Ephesians 3:16 ‘I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.'
Many years ago, as I was out walking, I felt a powerful sense of the Lord’s grief over the superficiality of his church. Since then, he has led us to pursue a simple theme, which is that there is so much more to you than meets the eye. In fact, for many people, at least 50% of who we are sits ‘beneath the surface’ and lives in the shadows. The problem is that this part exerts a disproportionate influence over our lives as a whole.
Imagine that you live in a single room. You are reasonably happy there, living in your extrovert. However, adjoining that room is another room in which your introvert lives. You can hear and feel that this part of you is getting badly treated – and it hurts. You go to open the door to the adjoining room but it is locked. You feel helpless to stop yourself getting hurt and helpless to ease the pain already there. So many go through life like that. It bothers me that people can be part of good churches for years, attend multiple meetings and activities, sing many wonderful worship songs – and this part can remain largely untouched. I think it bothers the Lord. He looks at the pain we carry and knows that his Son died to heal that pain. He sees the low self-worth and deeply-buried fears and longs for that part of us to be flooded with the light and joy of his Spirit. His deepest desire for us is that we know him fully, know his love for us and live in the fullness of that love in our relationships with each other – but how can we do that if part of us is behind a locked door?
What to do? Start by recognising that we are largely ignoring the part of us that the Bible refers to the most. Paul prays that we will be strengthened in our ‘inner being.’ The Bible frequently talks about our ‘heart’ – the centre of our emotional and spiritual life. The very word ‘soul’, more often than not, refers to who we are on the inside.
It stands to reason then, that to journey with the Lord will inevitably involve being open to him and each other at that depth. We can consciously commit ourselves to that process and see that life is about continual growth and not simply survival. How much better to choose to walk that path instead of waiting for a crisis to expose our inadequate foundation?
We need a safe place to be that open, a place where people have a vision for us and look through our faults to our hearts. We walk together with Jesus at the centre, encouraging and upholding one another, knowing we are safe because attitudes are submitted to the Lord.
We may have many questions. We might have built enormous defences and learnt to control and avoid any possible hurt – but we must learn to trust again. There are no relationships without trust. If we ‘set our hearts on pilgrimage’ (Psalm 84:5), are prepared to take risks and trust the heart of God towards us, we will find that the hidden place of pain within will be replaced by God’s ‘power through his Spirit in your inner being.’