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 people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ… (Ephesians 3:14–21)This week’s text comes from another of Paul’s letters, but unlike some that he wrote to address a specific heresy, this one speaks more generally about God’s purposes. Paul might have intended it not only for the Ephesians but for several other churches as well.
Some people label Paul as harsh or dogmatic, but in this passage we see him welling up with emotion over the amazing riches that we receive in Christ, which come through our dwelling in him. As Christ lives in us we are rooted and established in his love, and the Spirit at work in us gives us the power to comprehend this love.
Indeed, love is our beginning and ending. As we grasp how deep and wide and long and high is Christ’s love, we are permeated with it and it starts to seep out of our very pores. Or to use a metaphor we’ve employed before, Christ’s love bubbles within and pours out of us like living water, bringing life and grace and truth.
Love flowing from within helps us see others as God has created them. It gives us strength to answer a small child’s repeated question of “Why”? It helps us make time to visit the housebound person who is smelly and cantankerous. It gives us a gracious response when we are interrupted from our current project as we remember that people are more important than things or achievements.
Charles Wesley in his famous hymn states it better than I could: “Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down; fix in us thy humble dwelling; all thy faithful mercies crown! Jesus thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art; visit us with thy salvation; enter every trembling heart.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, show us this day how wide and long and high and deep is your love. Root and establish us in your love as you dwell in us, that others too might grasp this saving love. Amen.