TOTAL ALIGNMENT: We often talk about being 'aligned with God's will,' meaning that your wants and needs are exactly the same as what God wants. Paul opens this chapter by referring to himself as a 'prisoner.' A prisoner is totally aligned with the warden's will, although that alignment may not be voluntary. Paul calls himself a prisoner here because it's as if grace burst into his life and arrested him (v7-9). Yet it's through this ultimate alignment with God's will that Paul has found freedom, since before grace found him he was enslaved to his sinful lusts and desires.
GOD'S POWER COMES THROUGH GOD'S WORD: You have been given the power to understand the mystery of Christ (v4). How did you gain this power? "In reading this." The more of God's Word that you read, the more of this power you will have. How much do you want?
THE SOVEREIGN CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE WILL SEE YOU NOW; PLEASE COME IN: Paul writes that in Christ and through faith we may approach God in confidence (v12). The word 'approach' is a word used to describe coming into the office of a king or ruler, which would certainly be an intimidating experience. But since we have been given credit for all Christ has done we can now walk into God's throne room confidently and without fear!
GENIE, I WISH FOR... Having access to God like we do gives us tremendous power, and we're often tempted to use that power to make our wish His command. But since he's fully aligned with God's will, Paul doesn't use the access he tells of in v12 for his own gain, rather he writes that we may approach God with confidence, and for this reason, here is what my prayer is (v14). Look at what Paul uses this access to ask God for:
v16 - That Christians may be strengthened through the riches of the Spirit
v17 - That Christ may live in their hearts
v18 - That the saints (that's you) may know how wide and long and high and deep the love of God is
v19 - That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The one from whom all families in heaven and on earth derives their name (v15).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to free you from slavery to your sinful desires and give you freedom by making you His prisoner.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: