“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”—Eph. 3:14–16.
The manner in which we perform religious duties may serve as a criterion by which to judge of our strength and weakness.—If we be Christians, we shall worship God in our families, and in secret; we shall search the Scriptures, frequent the house of God, and aim to discharge the various duties which pertain to our stations in life. These things we shall feel it incumbent upon us habitually to regard; but the question is how, and in what manner, do we perform these exercises? If our souls be in a languishing state, they will become a task, and not a pleasure to us; we shall be weary of the Lord’s service, feel his yoke to be grievous, and, while we keep up a round of duty, our devotions will be cold, feeble, and unprofitable. But if we be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,” we shall count of the return of sacred opportunities, and find that Wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace. When David longed for water of the well of Bethlehem, three mighty men broke through the host of the Philistines to obtain it, hazarding their lives for his sake; while men of weaker attachment would have murmured at the severity of such an enterprise. If we possess a warm heart for Christ, we shall not think much of the, time, the talents, the property, or the influence which we may devote to his service; nor count our lives deaf to us, if we may but promote his kingdom and glory in the world. “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” Nor will this pleasure be confined to the public exercises of religion, but will extend to those of a more personal and private nature. It is possible we may feel much animation, and possess much enjoyment, in the outward means, while we are cold and lifeless in the duties of retirement; and this will be the case where the religion of the heart is not cultivated, nor close walking with God carefully maintained. But if we be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, communion with God will be earnestly sought after, private duties will be vigorously attended to, and the closet will yield us pleasure, as well as the tabernacles of the Lord of hosts. There are but few of whom it may be said, as of Caleb and Joshua, that they “follow the Lord fully.” Multitudes of professors appear to be but half-hearted in religion; they neither wholly relinquish it, nor take it up in earnest: but are desirous of following the Lord so far as is consistent with their carnal ease, their worldly interest, or their sinful passions, and no further. But if the object of the apostle’s prayer be accomplished in us, we shall be decided for God, and prompt in our manner of serving him; not consulting with flesh and blood, not attempting to accommodate our principles and practice to those of the generality, nor wishing to do as little as possible for God, consistently with our own safety; but, delighting to do all his will, we shall run in the way of his commandments.
Excerpt is from a sermon Fuller gave from Ephesians 3:14-16 entitled “Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians.”
Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 429–430). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.