“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in your inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith …”.
The greatest power in the world is not the power to move mountains or the ability to send men to the moon. Nor is it the power to command great companies or great armies. The greatest power in the world is the power to change lives. The greatest power in the world is the power to alter and transform the inner man.
The inner man is where we think, feel, and make our choices. It is the executive center of our lives.
Five times in the first three chapters Paul uses the word “riches” to describe God’s generosity and blessings toward his people. Paul prays that God would bless us not merely from his riches, but according to his riches. What Paul prays for us is that we would be strengthened mightily.
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” (Colossians 1.11)
The locus of this blessing of strength is the “inner man.” All the important things in life require inner strength. Our jobs, our marriages, raising our children, being a good friend, healthy eating, regular exercise, managing money, leading people, responding to change, navigating adversity … all of these things require inner strength.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer man is wasting away, our inner man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4.16)
This is God’s intent. He designed life to be lived inside-out. Consistent with God’s purposes and plans, inner strength is not something that we passively receive from him. It requires faith, and it requires faith-empowered response on our part.
To put it clearly and simply, inner strength requires inner work. Indeed, the quality of your inner work determines the quality of your outer work.
True power comes from the inside out. In our inmost being is precisely where we need strength. This is where we need courage. Much of the challenge in an obedient, surrendered life is not a matter of knowledge. More often than not we know what to do. We know what actions God wants us to take. We are aware of his commands and directives. What we lack is power.
Most often we aren’t strong enough, and we give in to the impulses of the sin nature or the influences of the world. We continue to practice old habits. We continue to be plagued by “the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind” that Paul referred to in 2.3. We need to be strengthened mightily through his Spirit in the inner man.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4.13)
More tomorrow …