Here is an interesting command from Paul to the Ephesians:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Ephesians 6:10
Literally, in the Greek, the sentence is, “Finally, be empowered in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” The rest of this section of Scripture will explain what it looks like to be empowered, but for now let’s just focus on this first sentence.
Just as we were previously commanded, in Ephesians 5, to “be filled with the Spirit” (a passive imperative), so too are we commanded to “be empowered in the Lord.” This also is a passive imperative.
We are commanded to do this, so we are required to be obedient. And yet, we are unable to “empower” ourselves. We can’t muster it up as if we have the strength to do it. Instead, we must position ourselves to receive from the Lord His power, His strength, and His might. We are commanded to do something we can’t do. We are commanded to do something we must receive.
We have to understand that when we get passive imperatives like this in Scripture, God is saying these are things He longs to give us. He longs to fill us with His Spirit. He longs to empower us with His strength and power. It was His idea, not ours. He wants to give us these things. More than that, we are commanded to have these things. But we must position our lives and our hearts in a posture of surrender in order to receive them.
Here’s the really interesting part. If we refuse to be empowered, we are rejecting this command. In other words, we are being disobedient if we don’t seek to be filled with the power and strength of the Lord. If we choose powerless Christianity, we are choosing disobedience.