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?