Last week, we looked at some ways we can know God loves us. For me, learning to trust in the unwavering love of Christ has been critical to my emotional and spiritual healing and maturity. Knowing God loves me gives me the hope and confidence I need to press on through various challenges. It also helps me accept correction and repent when I make mistakes.
Some people might see God’s unwavering love as an open invitation to complacency or sin. Maybe resting in the knowledge of God’s love isn’t everyone’s key to spiritual growth. But for me, it’s been a powerful catalyst for change.
If you’ve been anything like me—sorry!—maybe you’ve also needed to wrap your head and heart around the Father’s love. Maybe you needed to know this Father will never come home drunk and belligerent. He isn’t going to blindside you with a knuckle rap upside the head or cuss you out when you can’t figure out how to fix the lawnmower. He will never, ever humiliate you in front of strangers or verbally beat you down just to see you cry. He will never tire of family responsibilities and bail on you, move to another country, and send a postcard every five years to tell you about his new wife and kid and forget what grade you’re in.
No. God is a Father unlike any you’ve ever known, good or bad. And he loves us far more than we can possibly understand.
And yet, we’ve been challenged to try to understand.
The Apostle Paul prayed this prayer:
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19
This prayer seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Paul asks the Father to empower us to know this love that is beyond knowing. He wants us to grasp it. Seize it with our hands. Put down roots in it. Be saturated with it.
Why is it so important to know and take hold of the immeasurable love of God?
To make us happy?
It may do that, but knowing I’m loved does far more than simply make me feel good. The assurance of God’s love gives me hope and strength. It renews, heals, and motivates. But best of all, it’s empowering.
To do what?
Anything God asks.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15
What do you need power to do?
20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21