Apparently the latest must have holiday is one in which you book yourself into what is called an escape room. You are locked in a room, along with some other people and you have to find your way out of the room using clues left in the room and solving puzzles. The idea began as a virtual reality game, but in recent years has been transformed into being physically locked into a “real life” room. It’s supposed to be a phenomenon that appeals to younger people. Perhaps those of us who are older are well used to locking ourselves into or out of places simply because we have forgotten where we have left our keys.
For so many Christians, trying to live the Christian life can feel like an escape room experience. Sadly, the abundant life promised in John 10.10 begins to look more like the frustrated life of Romans 7 – wanting to do the right thing but never quite getting there.
In Ephesians 3, Paul reveals how he is praying for the church at Ephesus (14-21). He wants the lives of the members of that church to be God-filled. And the way he prays shows that he believes that is possible.
So how do we move from escape room Christianity to God-filled living?
A number of things emerge from Paul’s prayer.
Firstly, he prays that they will have this experience. That might seem an obvious point, but it is so obvious it can often be missed.
We know that in Christ we have all the riches of heaven. But having all the riches of heaven and not praying is like have millions in a bank account and forgetting the PIN number for your debit card. You cannot access God’s riches without prayer.
Secondly, he prays that they will be strengthened with power through His Spirit in [your] inner being.
Too often we try to change our behaviour on our own steam. Simply trying to make a decision to live for Jesus is not in itself enough. It is through the power that the Holy Spirit gives that our inner being is strengthened. Then as we believe God, the influence of Christ fills our lives, He dwells in our hearts by faith.
Finally, if we want to escape from escape room Christianity into abundant living, we need a profound revelation of love. In verses 17-19 of Ephesians 3, Paul empahasises love in three ways.
He wants believers rooted and established in love. That is the love of Christ for us. He wants us to grasp the dimensions of the love of Christ – wide and long..high and deep.
And he wants us to know His love that surpasses knowledge.
The picture is that of an absolutely overwhelming revelation of the love of God. And it is that revelation that brings about the God-filled life of being filled with all the fulness of God.
We don’t have to live escape room style Christianity. Abundant life is on offer. Oddly enough, Paul was in custody awaiting trial when he wrote Ephesians. It just goes to show, that even if you are confined in what feels like your own personal escape room, you can still live the God-filled, abundant life.