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. ~ Ephesians 3:19 NLT
Ephesians 3:14-21 is a prayer that I keep going back to over the years to pray for myself and others. It not only is powerful and encouraging, it often challenges me to meditate on God’s love. What is it really?
Recently I heard a radio Bible teacher say that God’s love is not a feeling, but a commitment. Yes, it is not just a feeling, I agreed, but how do we experience it? We can believe God’s Word when it tells us God loves us. We can see the way his presence in our lives creates transformation, new life, bringing peace and healing, and so much more. So, I was anxious to hear what God wanted me to learn about his love being commitment.
Two weeks later I sat in a beautiful garden and watched as our son was married to the love he had been waiting for all his life. Both the bride and the groom were radiant with happiness and love. They stood before the group of friends and family and promised each other to be faithful, steadfast in their love and made a covenant, a commitment with and before God, to honor each other till death.
There it was! I witnessed love experienced as commitment, a solemn promise to each other. After the emotions of the day, I knew this was my answer. Look at Ephesians 3:19 with me. “May you experience God’s love”, not feel. “Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” We are empty, lacking, incomplete, until we experience God’s love. Experiencing here does not just mean knowing about it or feeling something. Can you look back and acknowledge proof of God's commitment to you personally? Experiencing God’s love, his commitment to us, leads to fullness of life and power. I want that! Don't you?
I remembered that from the first covenants, or promises, God made with humankind, our relationship depended on God alone, not us. (Gen. 9, 15). They only depended upon God’s faithfulness and power, since he knew his people were fallen, proven untrustworthy. The Old Testament covenants were mere foreshadowing of God’s fulfillment of his intentions all along to rescue his people from all the power of sin and death through the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord. Only one man would be sinless and able to sacrificially pay our debt. Viewed from that lens, we experience our heavenly Father’s love through his eternal, unbreakable commitment, his eternal plan, to save us, redeem us, free us and adopt us as his beloved children.
Father God’s love, his commitment to us, is culminated in the Cross of Christ. Paul describes marriage as a picture of how Christ and the Church are one. (Eph.5:32) The husband commits to serve his wife in sacrificial love, just as Jesus proved his love to his people. To God, love and commitment are inseparable.
We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and strength. It is only as we experience his loving commitment to us, as undeserving broken people, that we might be able to show him the same commitment, that is, total surrender.
Let’s ponder our commitment to the Lord. He is worthy of all our love. Where could we love God better? Where do we need to increase our commitment?
Dear friends, be blessed as you commit to love God better this week. As you listen to the Holy Spirit, be blessed as he guides you to a deeper understanding of God’s commitment to you. May every little surrender to Jesus fill you with great peace and joy. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ October 14, 2021