Crafting a Heart for Jesus - How Awesome God Can Be

Another week, another post from Ryan.  I hope you'll enjoy this feature, a fresh perspective from someone who isn't me. :) Feel free to leave comments with questions, Ryan is great to answer them.

God is awesome.  And frequently he wants us to chill out, sit back, and watch him be awesome.  It brings him glory, and it encourages our faith.  But…how awesome is he?  That may seem like a silly question, but if so…let’s be silly.  Let’s explore the limits of how awesome God can be.  We’ll take some help from the Apostle Paul. 

Ephesians 3:20-21 – Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Okay, so what does that mean?  We all know that we have crazy ideas.  We have ideas that we wouldn’t dare speak out loud because of how crazy they sound.  We all have these, and we probably soften them a bit before we tell anyone.  Instead of saying, “I want to be a world renowned author” we say “I’d really like to write more often.”  We downplay our dreams because we think they are too big.  Beneath the surface burns the passion of a thousand suns, hoping that our dreams will come true.  But we won’t share it with anyone but those with whom we are closest because it might sound presumptuous or crazy. 

But look at what Paul says.  God is able to do above and beyond what you could ask or think.  You can’t out-dream God.  He is able to do more than what you would be willing to say out loud.  He’s able to do the thing that you are afraid to mention.  But he’s even able to do above that.  Think about that for a second.  You’re afraid to say it out loud because you think it’s too big.  But in reality, he’s able to do above and beyond what you secretly desire.

Paul is concluding a prayer at this point in Ephesians.  It is almost as though he is actually just praying for the Ephesians and someone is transcribing his prayer.  And as he closes his prayer he wants to glorify God…a God who is entirely worthy of this glory because he has bestowed his power upon his people.  This power can do more than what we ask for.  No, more than that…it can do more than we can think.  But even that doesn’t do it justice.  That power that dwells within us, the same power that raised Christ from the dead…that power is able to do more than we can ask, more than we can think, and more than we can adequately describe with words. 

That’s why Paul makes up a word (ὑπερεκπερισσος).  See, περισσος means extraordinarily, or exceedingly.  But that isn’t enough.  Let’s try εκπερισσος.  That’s the same word with a preposition added to the front.  That’s one way to emphasize things in Greek.  In fact, περισσος is already a compound word.  So it is already emphatic, but just not emphatic enough.  Εκπερισσος doesn’t actually exist, but it would mean something like more than extraordinarily/exceedingly.  Is that enough?  Nope.  Let’s add another preposition.  God is able to do ὑπερεκπερισσος what we can ask or think.  That’s like saying on top of something more than extraordinarily what we can ask or think.* 

Let me say that in a different way:

What you say is tamer than your dreams.

What you dream doesn’t go far enough for God.

God is able to surpass your words, your dreams, and even the things that are so crazy you wouldn’t dream them.  He’s beyond even the things you wouldn’t dream.  He’s able to do things you couldn’t dream.  They are beyond you.  Given all your time and all your effort, you couldn’t come up with a plan that impressive. 

What does this mean? There’s literally nothing we can ask him that is too much.  C.S. Lewis put it this way:
…it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.*

Don’t be too easily pleased.  Your father loves you.  He is able to do more than what you ask, more than what you think.  He doesn’t just exceed expectations.  No imagination can begin to grasp how good he is to us.  He has good things waiting for you.  Sometimes he’s just waiting for you to ask.
Next week, we will continue this train of thought by discussing what we should do when it doesn’t look like God is all that awesome.

1 The research found here can be replicated partially on (which I heartily recommend) as well as Perseus (

2 This is from the intro of The Weight of Glory, which I recommend all Christians read on a semi-regular basis.  A free copy can be found online at

Ryan blogs over at Home Cooked Jesus {the Jesus you need for the day to day and not just Sundays}.  He is also what I consider a Bible scholar, though he would disagree on technicality.  He studies Hebrew and teaches at a local bible college while pursuing a masters degree in the biblical field.  

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