February 9, 2022
“I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,”
Ephesians 3:16
Compassion for others begins with the ability to journey inward and be compassionate with oneself. But, what is our inner self? Many may think it refers to our minds. However, I don't think our inner self only means our minds. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul says, "Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day." I read this verse that, although our physical body deteriorates, something growing more vital and vigorous in our ontology is, I believe, "the inner nature" in Paul's term.
This inner nature, which Paul refers to, is spirit. Spirit is where God has imprinted God's image and begins God's work. In the realm, what psychologists would call the subconscious, the deep-seated part of our life, the fundamental element of our nature. When we are really discouraged, really brokenhearted, and have given up, our condition is often described as dispirited. That is an accurate term. Our fundamental nature is dissatisfied. This is something that touches the spirit, right at the deepest level of human life, and we find ourselves filled with despair and indifference.
This is where the recovery must begin. And what the Apostle Paul tells us about here is the capability of the Creator, our loving God, to give us a fresh infusion of strength by God's Spirit into our spirit, the inner being. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, speaking of believers, Paul says, "For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit." That is what our human spirits are for—to drink of the Spirit of God so that we are refreshed and revitalized. Just as taking a drink refreshes our bodies, so drinking of the Spirit refreshes our spirits, at the deepest level of our life.
That is not the realm of feeling. We get so hung up in this spiritual recovery process by always wanting an instantly good feeling. Relief will come, but it doesn't start there. It starts down at the level of the spirit and may be nothing more than some consciousness of reassurance that things are going to work out.
This beginning step is not our responsibility; it is God's. All that is necessary is that we ask God for it. Paul prayed that these Ephesians might have this granted to them. When we ask on that level, God promises to give.
May the love of everlasting God be with us all the time.
Pastor Woo.