The Sturdiest Structure on Earth
In [Christ] the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord … For this reason, I kneel before the Father. Ephesians 2:21, 3:14
Any building contractor can confirm that a structure’s durability is directly related to the strength of its foundations and walls. That’s why cement is used in most construction projects–sheds to skyscrapers.
Cement is a chemical combination of calcium, silicon, aluminum, iron, and other ingredients such as limestone, shells, or shale. The variety of elements mixed with water makes cement incredibly durable. Add rocks and steel or glass fibers to the cement to create reinforced concrete, one of the strongest building materials on earth.
At the end of Ephesians 2, Paul used a construction analogy to explain that every member of God’s family is a vital part of a “holy temple”–“a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (2:21-22). Paul’s prayer in 3:13-19 is a continuation of that analogy.
God is fitting together people from every tribe, nation, and language to form an indestructible structure. He mixes the various strengths and qualities of individual members to create cement-like durability. “For this reason,” Paul prayed that God would “strengthen [every person] with power through his Spirit in [their] inner being” (vv. 14,16). In other words, the Living Water of the Holy Spirit works in and through the individual members, increasing their strength and cohesion.
Paul then prayed that God’s people would be able “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” His love is the added ingredient–the steel or glass fibers–that gives God’s holy dwelling, the Church, reinforced-concrete sturdiness. The indestructible power and strength of Christ’s love “surpasses knowledge” (v. 19); nevertheless, the more fully we experience His love for us, the more freely and unconditionally we love one another. Therefore, Christ’s love in us makes the Church the most powerful, durable entity on earth. And through His love, Christ can do “immeasurably more” in us than we ask or imagine” (3:20).
Let’s open our hearts and minds to receive the love of Christ, allowing it to fill us as well as flow through us to our fellow Christians. The results will astound us. And God will be glorified in ways that we cannot imagine.
According to Romans 8:35-39 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, what is the “love of Christ” able to do for us, in us and through us? How will that affect your attitude and actions today?
Compare Paul’s use of power in Ephesians 3:16 and 20 with Acts 1:8, 4:32-35, 6:8, and 26:12-18. How was the power of God manifested in the first-century church? How is it manifested in you?
Compare Paul’s references to God’s riches in Ephesians 1:7, 2:4, and 3:16. In what ways does that expand your understanding of the promise of Philippians 4:19?
Denise K. Loock