Do you have a love problem? Let me ask you a question.
How many of us would say that our love for God is our #1 consuming passion in life? More than our love for our family, job, sports, or anything else on earth?
OK. Let me flip the question around. How many of you would say that your #1 consuming passion in life is to know and experience how much Christ loves you? Not how much you love Him but how much He loves you? It goes against the way many of us think about the Christian life, doesn't it? And yet Christ's love comes first and receiving from Him has to come first. That is why the apostle Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus.
The apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians to know and experience the love of God for them. This is his prayer from Ephesians 3:17-19, "(I Pray) That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in (His) love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Notice, Paul doesn't pray that the church will love Christ more but he prays that the church would know that Christ loves them more. He prays to God that they would understand more of Christ's inexhaustible love for them (multiply the height by the depth by the length by the width). The apostle Paul actually calculates God's love for us and it is infinite and endless. Paul then prays for them to be filled with ALL the fullness of God, which is the fullness of His love! GOD IS LOVE! How deep is that love? How full is all the fullness of God? Can you measure that love? How high can "exceedingly abundantly above" love be? The apostle is passionate in his prayer because he knows that it is the key to all of the Christian life. God's very nature is love; as all of His love is poured out upon us, we simply respond in kind.
I like what one author says about Paul's use of the word love: "In the Greek language a unique word is used to express the love of God. It is the word 'Agape. It denotes a love that is far above that which we experience in our natural relationships with one another. It is a completely free, unconditional, unmerited, sacrificial, giving love."
God's biblical definition of His love for us is nothing like our love for Him or other people for that matter. Our human love is fractured, limited, and very conditional. The beautiful thing about the Bible is that it defines in a concrete way what God's love is toward the bride of Christ. Without Scripture we would bring God's love down to our limited human level and since we are prone to do that anyway, we have to tenaciously guard against that through abiding in His Word. His definition of love has to trump our constant, sinful, emotional desire to redefine love. We already know that we are unlovable and we know that we don't deserve any love or mercy from God, He has a lot to overcome. We have to let God convince us daily of His love for us! God will only change you and I through love. When we abide in His Word, we abide in His love.
Chuck Smith: The love of God goes beyond anything we know on the human plane. You've never experienced such a love. It's a constant love, a strong love, and a pure love. A love that overcomes your weaknesses and failures and seeks only your good and your best. Many times you'll discover God's love the most when you have been at your worst, it is then that you realize how much He loves you.
Do you have a love problem today? Not in how much you try to love Jesus but in knowing His love for you? The Lord wants you to experience His unfailing, unearthly, merciful love right now and I hope that you will. You and I don't deserve His love and we cannot earn His love. Just ask Him now to overcome your doubt and receive all the fullness of God.