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What does it mean that God can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)?

In Ephesians 3:14–19, Paul prays for spiritual strength for the believers. He prays that they would be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit in their inner being so that as Christ dwells in their hearts through faith, they would be rooted in His love, knowing the full extent of it, and be filled with all the fullness of God. At the conclusion of this prayer, he writes: "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20–21). Paul follows his prayer for the Ephesian church's strength with an encouraging reminder of God's ultimate strength.

Ephesians 3:20 is an encouragement for believers because it reminds us that God reigns supreme. He has unlimited power and ultimate sovereignty over all. He "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20, NIV). We can strengthen ourselves in Him and know His love, but God is the one who empowers us, even within our own limitations, and uses us to make His plans prevail. As believers in Jesus Christ as Lord, all that we do should be for His glory: "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23–24).

We do not have power on our own, but God operates "according to the power at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20)—the power of the Holy Spirit. Elsewhere, after describing Jesus' victory over sin and death, Paul exhorts, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58; see also Philippians 2:12–16).

God's plans are greater than we can ask or imagine. He "is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). Other translations use "immeasurably more" (NIV), "far more abundantly beyond" (NASB), "exceedingly abundantly" (NKJV), and "infinitely more" (NLT). There really is no limit to what our great God can do. He could accomplish His plans without us, and yet, He uses us as instruments to help bring them to pass. He wants us to be a part of His kingdom work (see Matthew 6:9–13). This is why Paul's prayer is so important—we need to be strengthened in the Lord, so that we may be rooted in His love, ready and willing to do His work with full faith that He is the one who brings His "immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine" plans to pass.

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