I wrote in a previous post about maturity in Christ Jesus.
We need to see how much God loves us. It's not about how much we love God.
We cannot give what we do not have. We cannot give what we do not think we have, either.
Consider what David declared in his final prayer as he passed on the kingdom to his beloved son Solomon:
"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." (! Chronicles 29:14)
We cannot give but what we have freely received from Him.
Paul did not pray for the Ephesians to love more.
He prayed that they would understand how much God loves them!
"14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Paul did not pray the following:
1. Do more for God.
2. Love God more.
3. Give more to charity.
Paul's prayer is incredible, and incredibly power.
To the best of my knowledge, this passage contains the only time when he wrote "I bow my knees", to show how earnest, how heart-felt, how emphatic his prayer is!
1. Be strengthened with might by His Spirit
2. Let Christ be at home in your hearts
3. Be rooted and grounded in love--His love
4. Comprehend, take into understanding His love in all directions
5. To know--to understand with greater awareness, even intimately--the love of Christ
NOTE here - it's Christ's love for us, not our love for Him. This revelation skips over so many people. We are so busy trying to love God, when we need to get "busy" understanding how much He loves us.
This deeper knowledge reminds me of a scene in The Wizard of Oz.
Towards the end of the movie, when Dorothy Gale returns with her three friends, she finds out that the Wizard is just an old humbug professor from Kansas. He doesn't really have any power, and there is not much he can offer to the four weary travelers who sought home, brains, hearts, and courage.
When the Wizard finds something for the Tin Man, he provides him a clock-working heart medallion.
Then the Wizards says:
“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”
Many people I know struggled with this statement. Isn't love about what you do for others, not the other way around? Isn't love an action?
Love is about our ability to receive -- from God the Father!
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)
Love is not about us or anything that we have done or will do.
God loved us, and He sent His Son to be our Mercy Seat. He is the atonement for all the sins of all the world. He loved us first!
Love is defined by what God did, for God is love! (1 John 4:7-8).
It's not about our love for God, but God's love for us!