The Measure of Love

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When I am being a little lazy and I want something to drink, I’ll ask my husband “How much do you love me?” He will answer “With all my heart.” Then he’ll ask, “What do you want?” I’m really not trying to “measure” his affection, besides, there’s no tape measure long enough to gauge love.

Paul said, “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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19.

How high is the love of God? Psalm 103:11 says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him.” Man may have climbed to great heights through space exploration, but we have yet to pierce the highest heavens. God’s love exceeds heights man can never reach.

How long is the love of God? Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” God loved us before time began, and He will continue to love us throughout all eternity. His love for you and me will never end.

How deep is the love of God? “Jesus Christ, being in very nature God…made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…humbled Himself…to death” (Philippians 2:6-8.) Jesus Christ stepped from the glory of heaven and humbled Himself all the way to the depths of the grave for you and me.

How wide is the love of God? “Carrying His own cross, He went to the place of the Skull. Here they crucified Him” (John 19:17-18) Jesus willingly stretched His arms out to their full span, so His hands could be cruelly nailed to the cross.

Beloved, you will never be able to measure the love of God, but you can trust it. It’s a firm foundation on which to build your life, and it’s a sweet, soft pillow on which to rest your head at night.

A Strong Foundation of Love and Peace

I began praying for my granddaughter before she was born and have prayed every day since. I pray for her health, protection, provision, and growth and I pray Ephesians 3:17-19 over her. “That Joy, 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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that she may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” That part, “to know this love that surpasses knowledge” always puzzled me.  It brings to mind Philippians 4:7 that says that “the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” How can you know something that surpasses knowledge and understanding? This is a beautiful expression in both verses and it means to take firm possession of something that has complete authority over you and gives you an assurance that cannot be overridden. Specifically, in the terminology for Philippians 4:7, it means to have a superior hold of the mind in reference to “alarm and agitating emotions.” So I am praying that the love of Christ would rule and reign over her. Yes, she is only 2 years old, but I’m praying a foundation for the rest of her life. And I’m partnering with God in “rooting and establishing” her in love so that one day when she is a little older, she will be able to grasp the immense love God has for her. Is there a more important job for a grandmother?

Beloved, the love and peace of Christ are available to you too – today – right in the midst of anxious, frustrating, heartbreaking circumstances. The key is in the verses that surround these two verses – about living in God’s grace, rejoicing in the Lord always, trusting in His presence, praying about everything with thanksgiving, and keeping your thoughts focused on the good stuff.

I encourage you with all my heart to sit with your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and meditate on Philippians 4:4-9. Then “the God of peace will be with you” in ways you cannot understand, but you can certainly know and rest in.

How Does He Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote this beautiful poem to her beloved Robert Browning.  Their romance captured the heart of the literary world.  People love a good love story.

How is it then, that the greatest love story often goes unnoticed and uncelebrated? The Biblical writers penned hundreds of beautiful “sonnets” about the love of God.

David, writer of many of the Psalms declared, “I trust in Your unfailing love” 13:5); “show the wonder of Your great love” (17:7); “Your love is ever before me” (26:2); “He is my loving God” (144:2).  The prophet Zephaniah wrote, “[The Lord] will quiet you with His love” (3:17).   The Apostle John said that God has “lavished His great love on us.” (1 John 3:1)  But the words of Paul in His letter to the Ephesians is one of my favorite verses about God’s love, and perhaps was Elizabeth’s inspiration for her own declaration of love.

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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge

– that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19

God’s love is truly immeasurable, and Paul is not trying to put parameters around His love, but rather to express the immenseness of it.  He is trying to define the indefinable in a way that his readers, as well as you and I, can grasp.  He is describing the love of God with dimensions that will hopefully help us better understand its vastness.

How high is the love of God?  Psalm 103:11 says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him.”  Man may have climbed to great heights through space exploration, but we have yet to pierce the highest heavens.  God’s love exceeds heights man can never reach.

How long is the love of God? Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

God loved us before time began, and He will continue to love us throughout all eternity.  His love for you and me will never end.

How deep is the love of God? Psalm 86:13 says, “For great is Your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.”  Our greatest enemy is death, an enemy we ourselves have no hope of defeating.  But “Jesus Christ, being in very nature God…made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…humbled Himself…to death” (Philippians 2:6-8, sel.)  Jesus Christ stepped from the glory of heaven, and humbled Himself all the way to the depths of the grave for you and me.

How wide is the love of God?  John records the death of Jesus: “Carrying His own cross, He went to the place of the Skull.  Here they crucified Him” (John 19:17-18) Jesus willingly stretched His arms out to their full span, allowed His hands to be cruelly nailed to the cross and gave His life to save you and me.

Do you know that God loves you? Will you accept and believe in His love?  Unlike man’s love, God’s love is not an emotion.  It is His very essence.  You cannot be good enough to make God love you more.  You cannot be so bad that God will love you less.  God loves you because love is who God is.  God’s love is beyond our understanding, but is right within our grasp.  It is as near as the Cross.

God of Love, I cannot comprehend the greatness of your love, but I receive it and believe it.

Thank You for loving me.          Amen.