“Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ...” —Ephesians 3:8
For many of us stress is an everyday part of life and is certainly taking its toll. This inevitably happens when our responsibilities outweigh our resources. But Paul tells us that in Jesus Christ we have resources equal to every demand made upon us, and in this regard, we are richer than we think!
If we try to take on all our responsibilities without understanding our resources, we will become drained and exhausted. Paul writes, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). By virtue of being indwelt by the life of Christ, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing God has for us. God has only one thing to give us and that is His Son, and in Jesus Christ, we have everything we need. If we then take on the demands and pressures of life purely by human strength and wisdom, we will eventually find ourselves in retreat, depleted of our own resources.
In Ephesians 1:7-8, Paul uses a great word where he talks about the riches of God’s grace that He “lavished” on us with all wisdom and understanding. “Lavish” means profuse, excessive, over-abundant! This is an accurate description of the riches God gives us in Christ. In Ephesians 2:7 Paul describes them as “incomparable”, in 3:8 as “unsearchable”, and in 3:16 as “glorious”. In submission to Christ, we possess all the riches of Christ and can never exhaust or reach the borders of His illimitable power.
But what is Christ in us for? Does He have an agenda for us? The answer is, yes! He absolutely does! Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Long before we were born God had a plan for our lives, but we cannot have a spiritual side reserved for Christ in addition to other areas in which Christ does not play a role. In every aspect—family, work, church, school, leisure and social—Christ needs to be the foundation upon which we build our lives.
In a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ, Paul says, “...you no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their thinking” (Ephesians 4:17, NET). We learn to draw on the resources we have in Christ, enabling us to live wholesome, godly and fruitful lives where the presence of Christ within us produces consequences of goodness and righteousness. Being richer than we think is about knowing, experiencing and drawing upon the resources of Christ for every eventuality we will meet.