Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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7 His Deep Dimensional Love Part II

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 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. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

  • The height.

How High? Psalm 36:5 says “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens” Height here is more than just a simple term of measurement, it refers to the utmost and the vastness of God’s love.  When we talk about volume we are describing the highest possible noise level but Paul isn’t just describing volume here he is also describing the quality of God’s love. For many of us, God’s love is something new and one of the ways that we get to know something new is to compare it to something we are already familiar with. As people, we are constantly comparing and contrasting what we don’t know with what we do. When we have a computer program update and we need to learn what is new we tend to try the same commands that we used for the old one. Sometimes that works and often it doesn’t, some things are similar and others are different, yet we evaluate and compare the new to what we know. I think the same is also true with God’s love, in our desire to understand it we compare it to the love we’ve known from other people. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Some have been blessed with genuine love from others and for them it is easy to say “God’s love is like this only much better!” Yet the truth is, even for those who have experienced great love from others, when it comes to God’s love, it surpasses anything we’ve ever known. Comparing it with what we know will always pale in comparison to what it really is, that is why Paul prays that we will experience the immensity and freshness of His love in a personal way not a comparative one.

People come to faith in Christ not so much because of someone’s brilliant arguments that convince them of the truth but because they experience the truth that God is crazy about them. As God’s people we should be so “marinated” in God’s love that is oozes out of us and becomes a great aroma when we are put to the fire. We may fear trials but they are only a platform to spread God’s love in a world that is starving for love. The fiery trials will release the aroma of what is in us and if it is His love people will smell it and come running. So how do I measure God’s love? I see its height in God having “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3) and in His raising us up and seating us “with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).”

•             The depth.

How deep? This word is used to describe the depths of the sea, or the depths of a miry pit. It’s also used in the parable of the seeds, for the seed that lands on rocky soil and springs up quickly, then dies. There is no depth to the soil, it looks good, but there’s nothing to it. This describes so much of the love available to us in this world it may look good but it has no depth. God’s love is just the opposite, it is real and has the kind of depth that we can sink our lives into and grow. The depth of God’s love not only refers to the fact that it’s solid and real, but also that it reaches to the deepest parts of our being. Some of us are more open than others, some reveal themselves more freely than others, yet the truth is that we are all sinners. The true depth of God’s love is found in its ability to reaching the most desperate of sinners of whom Paul says he was the chief.  It doesn’t seem far-fetched that you would die for your lover, or that you would die in place of your child. But Romans 5:8 says “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Christ didn’t die for us when we were considered good but while we were still sinners. This is a demonstration of the depth of His love, a love that was willing to stoop in order to salvage. Some have hurts that are so deep they have locked them away in closets, shut off from the light of day and the love of even those who are closest to them. Because they are afraid that if someone sees the deep down ugly parts of them they won’t be loved anymore and they just can’t risk that. But God’s love is deeper than our deepest pain, it can penetrate the darkness of our worst fears. God’s love can get down so deep that it can clean out the closets of sin, despair, and self-hatred.

How deep is God’s love? Deep enough that it will never leave us even through the most difficult and trying situations of life.  Romans 8:35-39 asks “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The reality of God’s love is that it is so wide that it embraces everyone; it is so long-lasting, it will never let us go; it is of such a high-quality that it will never let us down; it is solid enough to bank your life on and deep enough to meet your deepest needs. Do you know that God is crazy about you and that He wants you to know how wide and how long and how high and how deep His love is for you? Are you experiencing the love of God today?

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6 His Deep Dimensional Love Part I

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 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. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Paul’s prayer for us reveals the wellspring from which the power and the glory of God rise up and become a reality in our lives.  Paul prays that we would grasp hold of something that would pave the way for God’s work in us. What is this amazing something Paul prays that we would get hold of? Three simple words “God loves you.” Some of us may respond “that’s it?” I already get that, some of us may be disappointed, we were hoping for something new and different. After all, how many times do we need to hear “God loves you”? For some, hearing those words may touch you about as deeply as having someone say “God bless you” when you sneeze. So why is it that when Paul talks about knowing that God loves him he is so excited and can hardly contain himself, but when we hear about it, we’re more tempted to yawn than to dance? Is it possible that we don’t really get it? We know it, but we don’t get it. Paul is not praying that God’s people would know that God loves them, but that they would know God’s love. Did you hear the difference? Do you know God’s love, or do you only know that God loves you? As a Biology major I know that the molecular structure of water is a combination of 2 molecules of Hydrogen & 1 molecule of Oxygen. Yet what does that really do for me on a blazing hot summer afternoon when my throat is so parched I can’t even swallow? When I need a drink I could care less about H2O as a chemical formula because my understanding of water doesn’t quench my thirst. My need is not for deeper insights into the meaning of water, I don’t need more knowledge about water, what I need is water, a tall, deep glass of ice cold water. It’s the same with God’s love, if you know that God loves you, but you don’t know His Love, it’s like studying water without drinking it.

In Paul’s desire for us to understand God’s love he exposes us to the four dimensions, width, length height and depth that open the door to the vastness and completeness of God’s love. He prays that we would “understand” how wide, long, high, and deep his love is but the word “understand” as it’s used here doesn’t mean “to gain a mental concept.” It means to grasp hold of. Paul ultimately wants us to get it, not just to consider it in our minds but to let it penetrate our hearts even though he acknowledges that we will never be fully capable.

  • The width.

How wide is God’s love?  The width of God’s love is the most obvious dimension that distinguishes His love from human love because He loves everyone and He loves them all equally. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that He desires that all come to know Him, He doesn’t play favorites. (2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”)

The human race on the other hand often reveals the extent of its love by the harsh treatment of those from other races and socio-economic backgrounds. The truth is that we love certain people but not others and while Christ was saying ‘love your neighbor,’ we were ask in our prejudice, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Jesus responded by pointing to the Samaritan, who was to the Jew someone they hated and who was not worthy of respect and for the Samaritan the feelings were mutual. Jesus tells us to love even those who hate us, that is what Christ did on the cross, He died because God loves sinners. Sinners like me, like you, like homosexuals, and abortion doctors. God hates those behaviors, as he often hates my behavior and your behavior, but His love is so wide, that it still encompasses them. God longs to set us free from sinful behavior and make us like Christ. He longs for all to experience His love, He is not exclusive and neither should we be, God loves you despite you and we must do the same for others.

  • The length.

What is the length of His love? From eternity to eternity, Romans 8:38 tells us that neither the present nor the future can separate us from God’s love. I don’t have to worry about His love running out because God’s love is forever and always. It isn’t just available on Sundays, there are no “regular business hours” for God’s love and the love of God doesn’t take holidays. It also means that God’s love doesn’t give up where ours often does. We tend to offer people love with a certain amount of time to respond and if they don’t we say forget it! Jesus said, “I will never, ever, ever leave you or forsake you.” He is the same today, yesterday and forever, He doesn’t change and His love for us doesn’t change so He doesn’t give up on us. There are those who wonder “will He love me today?” what about tomorrow? There are some who say “I believe He used to love me, but what about now?” Through the prophet Jeremiah God told the nation of Israel: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3

We talk about “clinging to the Lord,” in times of trial, but it really is the other way around. It is the Lord Jesus who hangs on to us. How long will He love you? Its forever!