That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
This beautiful supplication suggests several interesting points.
I. IT IS A PRAYER FOR THE SAINTS. It is not for their conversion, but that they might have life still more abundantly. The apostle's desire was to make men eminent Christians, to quicken them in the heavenly race, to promote in them a growth in grace and knowledge which would contribute to their spiritual robustness.
II. THE BLESSING SOUGHT IS REGARDED AS A FREE GIFT, "That he would grant you... to be strengthened." All true prayer proceeds upon the supposition that we can expect nothing from God but as a free gift through Jesus Christ. There must be a sense of want along with a spirit of entire dependence on the Lord, so that the believer may realize the sweetness of the promise, "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
III. THE BLESSING IS SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. "Strengthened with might... in the inner man." It is not a prayer for physical strength, which is a matter of slight moment in God's sight, though it is often made the subject of foolish boasting among men; nor for intellectual strength, which is a much more important factor in human life; but for "strength in the inner man." This is not to be confounded with "the new man." It is rather "the hidden man of the heart" (1 Peter 3:4); the man "created after God" (Ephesians 4:24) in righteousness and holiness; the interior principle of spiritual life; the personification of out' intellectual and spiritual life, with its impulses, its feelings, its struggles. This is the sphere, the direction, the destination, of the strength prayed for. It is a prayer that God would make us eminent in grace and goodness, that our souls may prosper and. be in health like our bodies, that we may be able to grapple with all our spiritual enemies, to resist temptation, to endure afflictions, to perform the duties of our Christian calling. If we have strength, we shall be able to run in the way of God's commandments (Isaiah 40:31). Our physical strength is renewed from day to day by food and rest. So is our spiritual strength daily renewed by the Bread of life; and thus the apostle could say of himself, "I can do all things through Christ; which strengtheneth me."
IV. THE SOURCE OF THIS STRENGTH IS THE SPIRIT OF GOD. "By the Spirit." Here is the Fountain of spiritual energy. The Spirit strengthens the believer by leading him to the fullness of grace that is in Christ, by shedding abroad the love of God in his heart, by applying the promises of the gospel, by making the Scriptures sources of that "joy of the Lord which is our strength," and thus causing us to go from strength to strength till at last we stand before God in Zion. It is easy to see, indeed, that the Fountain of strength is in the Spirit; for all the nine graces of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22) - are so many factors of this inward power. They promote the freedom and efficiency of life.
V. THE MEASURE OF THIS STRENGTH. "According to the riches of his glory." The apostle asks it in no limited measures; he asks it in the measure of the riches of that glory which is seen in his blended and harmonious attributes. God will act up to the dignity of his infinite perfections. "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, saith the Lord;" "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." There is an inexhaustible source of mercy upon which we may draw at pleasure in the supreme exigencies of our life.
VI. CONSIDER THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BLESSING ASKED FOR. There is happiness in strength, there is misery in weakness; there is efficiency in strength, there is futility in weakness.
1. Our usefulness depends on large supplies of spiritual strength. If we are weak, what good can we do in the world? "Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing."
2. We glorify God by this fuller strength. It is not enough to have grace enough to carry us to heaven; we must abound in the fruits of righteousness to the praise and glory of God, Let us, then, pray earnestly that we may become "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might," and that our inward man may be renewed day by day, even though our outward man show signs of weakness and decay. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;