So tonight I “decided” to eat a cookie with coffee in it for dessert so instead of enjoying some beauty sleep my mind has been going nonstop for the past 3 hours. And one thing that it has kept landing on has been something that the Lord has been speaking to me the last few weeks.
It all began when I was asked to speak at another church. The pastor was sharing with me the text that they were spending a few weeks parked in and he gave me the option of either continuing on with this verse or choosing something else to speak on. Before making my decision I decided to dig into this text and see what laid below the surface.
I began to dig into Ephesians 3:14-21, which if you haven’t spent some time in I encourage you to, there is a lot going on there. Paul is pretty much a genius and I’m constantly awed at the depth of what he has to say and the wisdom with which he spoke. Anyways, in the midst of everything that Paul is saying in that passage, there were two ideas in conjunction with each other that have been really resonating with me.
The passage reads as follows:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Like I said, there is a lot there. But what I’ve been pondering tonight is the idea of what Paul is talking about when he talks about the love of God especially when he says, “…being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…”
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…
I think that sometimes when we think of this we think of standing on a cliff over looking a vast expanse. Standing on that cliff you can see the whole of the expanse, you can see how far it goes to each side and you can see how deep the valleys and how high the mountains. The thing about standing on the cliff though is that you never actually experience the expanse. You can see what it looks like and have a very general understanding but you have yet to really experience or grasp what walking down into the valleys and up into the mountains means. You have yet to know how long it would take to walk from one side to another or to taste of the springs that run throughout that expanse. Standing on the cliff you can only have an overview of what that expanse truly holds.
I don’t believe that this is what Paul intended when he prays that the church in Ephesus, and thus us, would GRASP how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Instead what I picture is that Paul is talking about being inside the love of Christ. Climbing up to the very peak of His love and then jumping feet first to experience just how deep His love really goes. Finding out that Christ’s love goes deeper than we can even go down ourselves. And then, walking out the “perimeter” of His love, North, South, East, West, until our feet can take us no longer and still finding that the horizon continues to go forward. Not just climbing and jumping and walking to get the lay of the land though, but to grasp Christ’s love in a way that means tasting the fruit that is found there. Finding the stream of living water that runs through this love and deciding to lay down under the stars of the sky and take a rest beside it.
This is what it means to grasp onto, to experience Christ’s love. It means to reside within, camp in His love.
So what is this love? This love is a love that goes beyond what we expect or desire:
this love goes beyond what we can give in return
this love is not based on our merit or our capacity to love in return
this love seeks to give us what we cannot give ourselves
this love seeks to give not to please but instead to quench
this love goes beyond want to need
this love gives knowing that in giving it could be thrown away
This love sees us as infinitely precious. It is this love that we are to grasp onto and camp inside of.
When you decide to take up residence within a specific camp, to eat of a land and become one with that land, you begin to become distinct. People begin to recognize what you wear and what you eat as coming from somewhere other than where they are from. They begin to identify you with the place where you take up residence.
And so, tonight, as my thoughts continue to swirl I ponder this love that Paul prays we would grasp onto, experience, camp inside of. I wonder if I am recognized as residing where others don’t reside? I wonder if I look like a love that goes beyond want to need. If my face shines brightly with the glow of the Son that gives what I cannot get myself. I wonder if others notice my thirst has been quenched by a water that lives?
Tonight I pray, as Paul prayed, that I would reside in that love, to take up residence, drink deeply of the water and to feast upon the fruit of that land. And I pray that you also would take up residence within His love.