The Inner Man (Ephesians 3:14-21)
A daily devotional for March 12th
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
...he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being... (Ephesians 3:16b).
What is your inner being? Many take this to mean the soul, with its faculties of reason and emotion and will. But I don't think this is what Paul means here, because in 2 Corinthians 4 he gives us a clue about what he does mean when he says
the inner being. There he says that
our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day (4:16 NKJV). That is, for Christians there is something about us that is getting old, decaying and deteriorating; but there is also something about us that is getting more vital, increasing and becoming richer and deeper and stronger every day we live. And that is what he calls
the inner being.
Your soul grows old as well as your body. It is clear that the soul is part of our life linked with the outer person, which is perishing day by day.
But that is not the inner being. The inner being is the human spirit. It is here that God begins the work of recovery. Not in the realm of our feelings, but in what psychologists would call the realm of the subconscious, the deep-seated part of our life, the fundamental element of our nature. When you are really discouraged, really brokenhearted and have given up, your condition is often described as dispirited. That is an accurate term. Your fundamental nature is dissatisfied. It is not merely a question of temporary boredom. That would be in the realm of the soul. But this is something that touches the spirit, right at the deepest level of human life, and you find yourself filled with despair and indifference.
This is where the recovery must begin. And what the apostle tells us about here is the capability of the Creator himself our loving Father, to give us a fresh infusion of strength by His Spirit into our spirit, the inner being. In 1 Corinthians 12, speaking of believers, Paul says,
For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, . . . and we were all given the one Spirit to drink (v. 13). 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 your body, so drinking of the Spirit refreshes your spirit, at the deepest level of your life.
That is not the realm of feeling. We get so hung up in this process of spiritual recovery 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 your responsibility; it is God's. All that is necessary is that you ask Him for it. Paul prayed that these Ephesians might have this granted to them. When we ask on that level, God promises to give.
Thank You, Father, that I can come to You ask that You would strengthen me in the inner being, and that because of Your great love I trust that You will answer this cry of my heart.
Life Application: What do we really know about our inner being? Perhaps we have yet to really know by faith Christ's life in us? What is our responsibility in that regard?
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotional is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.