Getting Love Right (7)
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3.14-19
More love to know
Nothing is more important than that we know the love God has for us, that we delight in that love, bask in it, and spread that love abroad lavishly and consistently. Paul says as much in our passage: the love that Jesus has for us, and that He can show through us, is more than we know at present, more than we can ever know, and yet within reach of our knowing at every moment.
That love issues from the riches of the glory of God. Thus, it brings glory with it, immerses and surrounds us in glory, and transforms us from glory to glory into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3.12-18). The Spirit of God brings that love to us, revealing it to us in the Word of God, applying it to our heart, and empowering us for love as witnesses for the Lord. The more we look to Jesus, contemplating His exalted beauty and power, making our heart His home, and trusting in Him for all our needs, the more we will be rooted and grounded in love, properly known and expressed.
And the more we know this love, the more we will delight in knowing it, so that, increasingly, “we may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
And if being filled with all the fullness of God doesn’t electrify your soul with strong currents of desire, then you need to consider whether you have begun to know God and His love at all.
A strong soul begins in a well-kept heart, grounded in the fear of God and daily transformed by His love, so that love – which is the end of all Christian instruction (1 Tim. 1.5) – flows from us, by the Holy Spirit, to fill our world with Jesus (Eph. 4.8-10).
But we must earnestly desire for this to be the case, because it doesn’t just happen.
More love in which to grow
We are too easily satisfied, as C. S. Lewis explained in Weight of Glory. There he wrote, “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, 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.”
Just so, we are too easily satisfied with the measure of God’s love we have known and the consistency of the love we have shown to Him and our neighbors. If we were keeping our heart diligently in this matter, we would realize that the love of Christ is greater by far than what we can ever completely know, but always more within our grasp than it ever has been before.
And knowing this, we would set a course for growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, that would find us increasing in His love as the greatest affection our hearts can know, harbor, or express (2 Pet. 3.18).
More love to show
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” So sang Dionne Warwick way back in the ‘60s. She was right, of course, and many all over the world heard her clearly, cheered her sincerely, but then followed her wrongly into one or another form of unbridled self-love.
The love the world needs is the love God has shown in Jesus Christ – love that is self-denying, totally giving, sacrificial even to the point of suffering, and which brings the beauty, goodness, and truth of God to people and the world, in ways that redound to God’s glory and praise.
As a community, and as individuals, we have been entrusted with this mission of love. Paul prayed for us that we might know more of Christ’s love, so that, knowing it, we might be more joyful and blessed in it, and more faithful in showing and proclaiming it to the world around. All the fullness of God awaits us, percolating with divine love, radiant in glory, and overflowing to refresh the people we see each day. Paul prayed that we might know this, and we must join that prayer as well, and nurture our hearts for more of the fullness of love our loving Father promises.
We are ambassadors of a Kingdom of love, and our calling is to hope all things, bear all things, and give whatever we can so that the world can know the love of God that passes understanding. This great work of love begins in our Personal Mission Field and reaches to the ends of the earth. But it will not begin at all if we do not monitor and check self-love and all its attendant ills.
Let us stay close to the Lord and abide in Him. And let us consider how to stimulate and encourage one another to love and good works (Heb. 10.24). The wellbeing and salvation of the world depend on knowing the love of God. And it is God’s good pleasure to bring the world to that knowledge through the everyday opportunities and callings of us, His witnesses.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, guarding against corrupt self-love and longing more and more to dwell in the love of Christ which passes knowledge – love which is greater than we could ever entirely know – so that you may be filled throughout your strong soul with the fullness of God.
1. Can Christians expect to bring the love of God to our generation apart from proper fear of God? Explain.
2. How does Jesus embody the love of God? How does He bring that love to light in those who know Him?
3. Growing in love begins in prayer. Suggest some ways Christians could pray for their neighbors, so that they grow in love for them and for God.
Next steps – Demonstration: Who are the people in your life who need to hear the Good News of Jesus? Begin praying for them daily. Look for opportunities to talk with them about God’s love, as this is expressed in Jesus, and invite them to consider reading through the Gospel of John with you.
T. M. Moore
Your soul in the Kingdom of God
All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here.
Jesus has conveyed us into the Kingdom of God. It is in the context of seeking the Kingdom that we can grow strong souls. Our book, The Kingdom Turn, can help you understand and begin making yourself more at home in the Kingdom of God. Order your free copy by clicking here.
Thanks for your prayers and support
If you find ReVision helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.