The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
September 24, 2023
(Ephesians 3:13–21, NIV84) “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
The Apostle Paul had suffered much because he preached and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He suffered so that others might receive the glory of eternal life after dying. He gives God all the credit for that.
He asks of God that believers not be discouraged by his sufferings, but be strengthened by God because of his sufferings. Even today when we see a Christian praising and glorifying God despite sufferings and difficulties, we are encouraged. Seeing such things often strengthens our faith. It is kind of like the earthly proverb ‘I complained about having no shoes until I met someone who had no feet.’
He also asks from God that Christ dwell in hearts. If Christ is dwelling, living, making his home in our hearts, we will gladly and willingly serve him.
May we be encouraged in our faith by troubles and difficulties realizing that God is truly, completely, totally in charge – of everything!
O Lord, we beseech Thee, let Thy continual love cleanse and defend Thy Church; and because it cannot continue in safety or hope without Thy help, preserve it daily by Thy help and goodness. This we ask through Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord. Amen