Rooted In Love.
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. – Ephesians 3:17 NLT
When Paul thinks about the mysterious plan of God for the church – the blending together of a wide variety and cross-section of humanity through the redemptive work of Christ – he can’t help but fall to his knees in prayer to the Father. He understands that it was God who made it all possible. It was God who sent His Son to die in the place of sinners. It was God who expressed His own love to us while we were sinners, not after we got our spiritual act together. It was God who came up with the idea of the Church. It was God who sent His Spirit to reside within His people, empowering and enlightening them. It was ALL God.
So Paul prays that this very same God, who created everything in heaven and earth, would use the same unlimited resources He used to create the universe to empower His children with inner strength through His Spirit. He is praying for an intimate and intense relationship between God and His Church. Paul longs for them to experience in full what God has made possible through His Son. It is the life Jesus promised – life more abundant and full (John 10:10). The key word in Paul’s prayer is “trust.” As believers trust and put their faith in God, their roots will grow down into God’s love and keep them strong. It is as we trust in Christ daily, that we learn just how much God loves us. We develop and experiential knowledge that is far better than simply academic knowledge. Reading about the love of God is one thing. Experiencing it is another. Reading about the power of God can be helpful. But experiencing it firsthand can be life-changing and faith-building.
Understanding the incredible depth of God’s love is essential for the believer. To know God is to know His love, because God is love. The better we come to know Him, the greater we will come to appreciate His love for us. Trusting in Christ has a direct impact on our ability to know and experience God’s love. God’s greatest expression of His love for mankind came through His own Son and His death on the cross. And as we learn to trust in Christ, living our lives in keeping with His commands and according to His example, our spiritual roots will grow deeper and deeper into God’s love – the very thing we need to sustain our lives on this planet. Paul prayed that they would understand the magnitude of God’s love for them. But he also prayed that they would experience the love of Christ for them. The result would be spiritual maturity that manifests itself in fullness of life and power.
Paul’s prayer conveys the idea of ever-increasing knowledge of God’s love and an ever-growing understanding of all that God has made available to us through Christ’s death and resurrection. In Paul’s mind, there is no standing still, no status quo. We are to keep moving on in our relationship with Christ, growing in our understanding of His love as we trust in Him more and more. Salvation is just the start. We trusted Him for our forgiveness and redemption, but we must also trust Him for our ongoing sanctification and spiritual maturity. And Paul reminds us that, ultimately, God will get the glory because it is His power at work within us, that will accomplish His finished work in our lives – a transformation far more significant than we could ever hope or imagine.
Father, Your love for me is beyond comprehension at times. I can’t fathom why You would love someone like me, but You did and You do. In love, You sent Your Son to die for me. You have lovingly placed Your Spirit within me. Your love placed me in Your family, the Church. Your love empowers me and protects me. Your love surrounds me. But at times, I still struggle with the feeling that I am unloved because I am unlovable. Help me understand how wide, how long, and how deep Your love really is. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men