“I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” (Ephesians 3:16-17, NRSV)
This week we’re beginning a new sermon series on “Focusing Our Lives.” I am basing each week’s message on one of the principles outlined in Peter Scazzero’s work on The Emotionally Healthy Church. Churches can only be as healthy as the individuals who are members of them. So, we’ll spend the next seven weeks developing some concepts aimed at helping us achieve greater emotional health.
As a foundation, we’ll begin exploring what Paul referred to in Ephesians as our “inner being.” The Psalmist sometimes referred to this as our “secret heart” (see Psalm 51:6). These descriptions refer to our deepest thoughts and desires. Our thoughts and desires are primarily conscious, but there are unconscious influences at work as well. That’s why it’s essential to look beneath the surface of our feelings, behaviors, and patterns of relationships. If we understand what’s going on at both the conscious and unconscious levels, we can begin to unravel the mystery of why our lives either match our dreams or fall short of them.
I know many of us are averse to “navel-gazing.” So, what I’ll share with you this week and what Terry and I will share will be practical and down-to-earth over the next several weeks. I can’t promise that it will be easy—especially for those who prefer to live solely in the moment; however, I promise it will be fruitful.
Socrates declared that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I think part of what he meant is that the unexamined life is aimless and fatalistic. If we don’t understand ourselves, our motivations, and our influences, we are like a stick drifting downstream in a river to wherever the river takes us. The examined life, a life in which we grasp all that shapes us, is a life in which we play an active role in determining our destiny and the quality of our lives. I believe this type of pursuit is what Paul envisioned when he prayed that we might be “strengthened in [our] inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith, as [we] are being rooted and grounded in love.”
Join us in person or online this week as we “Look Beneath the Surface” and discover a new dimension of life in Christ. See you Sunday!