Take the Limits Off!


Last week I talked about the power we possess as a follower of Jesus Christ, this week I am going to share with you one of the most impactful moments of my life.

Obviously, having already looked at our human frailty and weakness, we know it is found solely in the love of Jesus Christ. Our power is only in knowing and walking in our identity as His Beloved. Ephesians 3:16-20 makes this abundantly clear:

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

In this passage Paul is encouraging the church at Ephesus to recognize, embrace, and take advantage of all the power they have been given. He is reminding them to ask, and expect, to be strengthened through the ministry of the Holy Spirit–challenging them to live in the unlimited resources available to them at all times.

Notice that Paul uses the words power and love three times in this passage as he stresses the fact that we posses more than we would even dare to ask or imagine. There is literally no limit to all we have available to us as sons and daughters of The King. No wonder our enemy wants us to live small and defeated lives! He knows we have all we need to rebuke and defeat him on a daily basis. Therefore, he tempts and deceives us to take our eyes off the source of our power and put them back on ourselves. In doing so we are made to feel weak and hopeless. In that place we become easy prey for the roaring lion that seeks to destroy us. However, when we claim the power we have in love, we are a threat to the domain of darkness!

My first encounter with the magnitude of this power came while I was doing my Seminary internship at Shepherd’s Door, the women’s division of the Portland Rescue Mission. Two nights a week I taught a class for the residents, and afterwards I would meet with the women one on one for counseling and prayer. One particular night, during finals week, I grudgingly got into the car to head to the “The Door.” I almost called to cancel my class that evening. I simply felt I didn’t have time to lead it, meet with the women, and study for my exams that week. Instead, I headed dutifully in that direction, but my heart was not in it. My plan was to show up for class and excuse myself as quickly as possible; I had a long night of studying ahead of me.

When I arrived, the residents formed a circle and we began our study. Just then a new woman, Cassandra, stepped into the room. She had just come in off of the streets and was still high on meth-amphetamines. She sat down with us but proceeded to interrupt me repeatedly, making it difficult for me to make any progress in the lesson. In my annoyance I stopped teaching and looked at her sternly. In an attempt to threaten her into silence I made the mistake of stating that if she would sit quietly I would meet with her privately when we were done with our group session. Cassandra excitedly agreed and then respectfully subdued herself for the rest of the class. I was amazed! Never had I seen an addict respond in this way. My attempt to scare her into submission had backfired. I was dismayed as my plan to leave immediately after class had been foiled–studying would just have to wait.

When Cassandra joined me in the small meeting room that night, she was extremely nervous and fidgeted violently. She started talking from the moment she sat down. On and on she went and it wasn’t until I felt the strong conviction of the Holy Spirit that I realized I hadn’t really been listening to her. As soon as I did, however, I was appalled by what was coming out of her mouth. Her story was the most horrific I had ever heard. And after working with women coming out of prostitution, addiction, and abuse for fifteen years, it still is. She was raised in the satanic occult. Her whole life she had been ritually abused and violated. She had endured evil acts that were too perverted for me to even wrap my mind around. She shared them all in painful and heart wrenching detail. She had fled from her home that day in order to save her young daughter who had recently been bro