Originally Posted by Mike Young October 2005
…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 saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, Ephesians 3:17-18
…the love of Christ.
Recently, I read a book entitled Why Men Hate Going to Church. While I don’t agree with everything I read in this book, the author’s observations certainly did stir some thoughts. One insight that I have pondered is the fact that for many men, flags will go up when they hear about love from a man. Some, who have been raised in the church, do not react strongly to this thought because the concept and language of Christ’s love have been part of their lives for as long as they can remember. I fall into the latter camp but I can certainly understand a negative reaction from others. I can imagine how passages about loving or being loved by Christ might be difficult to digest at first.
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. Ephesians 6:24
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Philippians 2:1-2
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35
I can see how some men would have difficulty with the concept of loving and being loved by Christ. As I have prepared for Noble Notes this week, I tried to think about how to explain this love from Christ that is so long and high and deep. Obviously, that’s not an easy task. However, I did develop a list of terms that I think collectively might help us start grasping the concept.
I thought of words like…
sacrifice, concern, commitment, service, selflessness, understanding, dedication, passion, support, forgiveness, compassion, help, empathy, comfort, giving, peace, loyalty, strength, wisdom
There are many who are more gifted and skillful than I when it comes to describing the indescribable. They might think of other, better terms. You may also be able to add to the list.
But here are some critical questions…
Wouldn’t you like to be on the same team as someone who could be described by all those terms?
How many of these terms accurately describe you in your interactions with your family and others?
Part of our difficulty comes with the fact that society has influenced our culture such that the word ‘love’ has too many uses and not enough meaning. We might be better served by thinking of the three types of love characterized by the Greek words, Eros – romantic love, Phileo – brotherly love and Agape’– unconditional love. Our society tends to focus heavily on Eros. Christ’s love for us, however, is Agape’ love. Because we aren’t perfect, we have trouble with the concept of unconditional love. For us, most everything is conditional in some way. But not in Christ’s eyes. He loves us because we are. And His love is so long and high and deep that it stretches beyond our wrong. It’s nearly inconceivable.
But thankfully Paul set an example for us. This week pray a prayer similar to Paul’s for yourself and your family…
Father, I pray that my family and I will be grounded so fully in you and your word that we, along with others whom we know, will be able to grasp how long and high and deep is Christ’s love for us.
Give it a try. See how God responds.