|Carol Martinez is part of the XP Ministries team and manager of XP Publishing. In this months devotion, Carol imparts new insight into understanding the greatness, goodness, and graciousness of God and how it is the portal into greater glory. Read on and learn how to experience the magnitude of His love, and walk in the fullness of our inheritance and authority as sons and daughters of the Most High God.
With both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! (Ephesians 3:18-20, The Message)
Twenty–three years ago, though I worked full time in Christian ministry, my personal life was in deep turmoil. Overwhelmed, at home I could barely function. One Sunday morning after a major crisis, I turned on the TV and listened to a preacher promise, “There is peace in the land.” That’s what I desperately needed – so shortly after, I attended his Bible conference in Dallas and ran to the front when he gave an altar call for those wanting to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Walking back to my hotel that night, a voice whispered in my heart, “Ephesians 3:18-19.” I didn’t recognize the reference, so as soon as I entered my room, I opened my Bible. The Scripture jumped out at me – literally. The verses appeared suspended in air as I read:
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 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 (NLT).
In that moment I didn’t analyze the great truths in this passage; I simply allowed its invitation to sink deep into my broken soul, bringing me new hope and expectation. As I look back on the journey that began that night, I marvel at God’s goodness and grace to choose precisely that Scripture on love as His first Word to me after being filled with His Spirit. Let’s look at this Word a little closer.
In the first two chapters of Ephesians, Paul gives a long, fascinating list of spiritual blessings we have in Christ: adoption, freedom, wisdom, revelation, a rich inheritance, the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead, the privilege of being part of His body -which has all authority in heaven and earth, being brought from death to life, being seated in the heavenly realms with Him, an incredible wealth of His grace and kindness, salvation by grace, becoming new creations – God’s masterpieces – so that we can do the good things He planned for us to do long ago, nearness to God, citizenship into God’s holy family… and more. Wow! What a list!
But then, in chapter three, Paul tells us that in order to fully experience and enjoy all this promised life and power, we must understand the length, width, height, and depth of God’s multidimensional love, AND experience it. Hmmm… could this be a reason why so many of us – quite honestly – don’t walk in everything that is our inheritance?
Capture Paul’s sense of awe as he writes this epistle. He is amazed at God’s redemptive plan, which includes him (of all people!), the Jews, and even the Gentiles (imagine!). And this plan has nothing to do with works; it’s all about God’s love and grace. I can see him almost jumping out of his seat as he writes, “Look at what we have! Don’t you see it? Catch it! Get it!”
Paul certainly “got” it. Like the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her costly perfume and tears, Paul loved much because he was forgiven much. And how we deeply desire to walk in the love, authority, fruitfulness, and power that Paul did!
To fully understand and experience God’s love is a lifelong journey that will continue even in eternity. But as we bask in the love He already lavishly pours out on us, let’s be intentional in the cultivation of our love relationship with Him, and truly come to delight in His love as He delights in us.
Be joyful, sing, praise, and dance because of His love! Romance Him with your worship and love songs. Soak in His presence and enjoy the songs He sings back to you. Decree and meditate on the many Scriptures that spell out His love. Recount with thankfulness His many acts of love toward you and your loved ones. Write in a daily journal titled: “Beloved, Lover of my soul, how do You love me? Let me count the ways!”
Why is capturing His love the vital key to it all? Because knowing at the deepest level the greatness, goodness, and graciousness of God is the portal into greater glory.
When we understand and experience our Father’s multidimensional love to a fuller measure, insecurities and self-doubts about “who we are and why we are” dissipate. We rise above our own difficult situations. We experience the love that expels fear and breaks our chains. What good is the power that Christ placed in us if we are too ashamed or fearful to venture forth in it? But when we experience the magnitude of His love, we can walk in the fullness of our inheritance and authority as sons and daughters of the Most High God.
As we understand and experience how much He loves us and others, it increases our faith that not only is He “able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), but He wants to do it! In boldness, we believe, pursue, and do.
We will see the world through His eyes and love with His heart. We will have His passion and compassion for everything that He cares about, not just what affects us personally. We might be surprised that we think drastically different, care for, and even mobilize in regard to people groups or moral and social issues that previously didn’t move our hearts.
Then, we become greater manifestations of His light and love. AsPaul said, possessing and exercising supernatural spiritual gifts and even outstanding acts of mercy mean nothing if we don’t love (1 Corinthians 13). Although Christian commentary and political action that address the dark and turbulent times we live in are important, they are not the key to the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom on earth. This will only happen when we, His children, are ablaze with God’s love, grace, and power as we share the gospel with signs and wonders following.
So, as we call out for the mighty outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on earth, which we so desperately need and desire, let’s make sure that we also pray to understand and experience all the dimensions of His love.
And as we rejoice at the ripple effect of the explosion of His love, goodness, grace, and power, the earth truly will be filled with the knowledge of His glory!
Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:21).
C. Weekly Scripture Meditation
Week ONE – Ephesians 1
Week TWO – Ephesians 2
Week THREE – Ephesians 3
Week FOUR – 1 Corinthians 13