Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 4:12-13, 1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 13,
2 Corinthians 9:8
Power and love. These two forces are locked in a tug-o-war, shaping our world, our politics, our families, and our lives. How many wars have been fought, refugees created, and lives degraded because of the love of power? And how many offenses have been forgiven, orphans adopted, outsiders welcomed in, and lives transformed because of the power of love?
What happens when these two forces cease the back and forth we’re used to and come together in embrace? What would that look like? What would be the effect in our world and in our lives?
In God the Father, love and power are perfectly mingled together. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church is that they would understand and live from the depth of the Father’s love for them, namely that love as found in Christ Himself.
The language we get here is both agricultural and architectural. Paul’s desire is for these Ephesian believers to be rooted and established in love. The first metaphor elicits a picture of a tree sending roots deep into the soil and drawing upon its rich nutrients, as we are to put deep roots in Christ, being nourished by His constant flow of love. The second metaphor paints the picture of building a structure on a solid foundation, just as we are to build our lives on the unshakeable foundation of the love of Christ. This rootedness and grounding is the result of Christ dwelling in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Power and strength are both mentioned twice in this passage. As followers of Christ, we are not only grounded in Christ’s love for us, but we are empowered to understand the magnitude of this reality and to let His love permeate and energize our lives. Paradoxically, we are to “know the love of Christ” that “surpasses knowledge” (v. 19). We are to know the unknowable. This speaks to the incredible depth and breadth of Christ’s love for us, such that we have to authentically experience it to understand it. This is no mere head knowledge, but interactive relationship with the One who demonstrated His love for us by giving up power and dying on the cross.
There is a goal, an end to which Paul is praying: that we would be filled with all the fullness of God. As followers of Jesus, our lives are to burn and brim with the power and love of God. Indeed, power and love have come together in embrace in Christ and His finished work of the cross, and the sons of God in Christ are enveloped in it.
May the power and love of God take shape in our lives as we are firmly established in Christ’s love.
written by Chris Comstock