It’s easy to over-complicate faith. As we’ve journeyed through the wonderful presence and work of the Holy Spirit over the last few weeks, we’ve uncovered some glorious truths. We’ve seen how the Spirit has been around for eternity, co-existing with the Father and the Son in a beautiful relationship of mutual love. How the Spirit was breathed into us to give us life, and, though the image of God became scarred in humans, how the work of Christ has renewed this breath of God, so that the Spirit dwells in us again.
We’ve marvelled at the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the wisdom imparted by the Spirit – and how all this was promised centuries ago, and sealed at Pentecost. Now the work of the Spirit is not limited to a few individuals but freely available to all God’s people. Because of Christ, the way to God is clear and we can enjoy spiritual blessings for all eternity.
But what does it all boil down to? St Paul’s amazing prayer in today’s passage somehow encapsulates all of this glory, all of this wisdom, into a few profound phrases, and one simple request to our great God. What is the power of the Spirit for? Ultimately, that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith (v17). The Spirit always points us to Jesus, and as we offer our weak and limited faith in Christ to God, so the Spirit works in power to seal this faith in our hearts. Jesus dwells with us and we slowly grasp the great depths of that love (v18). Indeed we start to know something that surpasses knowledge (v19) – something so great, so transcendent, and yet implanted in us by the Spirit.
Life can be challenging, and if you’re anything like me, we often lack faith to believe in the power of prayer, in the truth that somehow everything will turn out alright. But as we let the Spirit move our hearts, as the love of Christ truly dwells there, warming us, transforming us, so we somehow seize faith to pray what must be one of the great blessings of all history – and may it be our prayer today as well:
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’