...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 asking that You would strengthen my inner being, and because of Your great love I trust that You will answer this cry of my heart.
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?