In Christ: A Journey Through Ephesians


With one statement, an employee at an upscale Seattle hotel made it clear, I did not belong there. He had no idea who I was, but dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, and admittedly un-showered, I assume I appeared like a vagrant. Like the homeless girl, I once was. And that was why the man’s words brought such shame.

If only I had anchored the truth of Ephesians 3:18 deep in my heart, the man’s statement wouldn’t have cut quite so deeply. Those words, written for ancient believers coming from shameful backgrounds themselves, say, "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 is.” 

Oh, what a glorious, freedom-giving prayer, one we all need to remind ourselves of, again and again until the truth replaces all that is false. 

Know what? I did belong in that hotel. My husband had booked a room, one which we could easily afford. But that morning, I felt like an outsider. Like one of those women. At that moment, all my old insecurities, all the lies that had plagued me for so long, washed over me. I stammered, and tears sprang to my eyes while my husband sprang to my defense. 

Paul took that same stance for the Gentile believers in Ephesus. That was his entire mission—to draw them to Christ, and into the church. To unite them in faith with ancient Jewish believers, a people group who once went to great effort to keep “the uncircumcised” as they were contemptuously called, out. But now, the Ephesians were included, and Paul wanted them to know this. 

 “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources,” he wrote, “He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 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 is.” 

Paul wanted the Ephesians to be anchored, held fast, in God’s love. He wanted them to know, without a doubt, that they belonged, regardless of anything they’d done in the past or what anyone said. Why? Because God chose them and loved them. They weren’t insufficient, insignificant, discarded, or shameful. They were now, in Christ, blameless in Him and united into His family—by love.

When we understand the depth and width of God’s love, its incomprehensible vastness, toward us, everything changes. We’re not starved for other people’s approval or acceptance because we know, in Christ, we’re enough, regardless of how sinful man behaves toward us. It’s taken me a long time to grasp that—to shake off my old self—that “street girl” that tried to hold tight to me for so long, so that I could fully live out the new me in Christ—a chosen, redeemed, empowered, and accepted child of God. 

Is there an area where you feel like you don’t quite belong or measure up? If so, my prayer for you echoes Paul’s. I pray that God the Father, the Creator of all, will flood the depths of your soul with His Spirit, pushing out every insecurity and shame. I pray that your roots plunge deep into His love and that you come to know how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is for you, His child. May your knowledge of who you are in Him increase each day, as you learn to live Wholly Loved. 

~Jennifer Slattery