18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Reflection On This Scripture
Today we move on to the second request of this wonderful prayer. The first request was for the people to be empowered with strength by the Holy Spirit and indwelt by Christ so that they are rooted and grounded in love. This second request builds upon the first; Paul is asking that they may have strength to grasp with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
One of the first points to understand is only God Himself can impart this knowledge. It is not reserved for the pastors, community group leaders, or the worship team. It’s for those who ask. God wants all the saints to comprehend the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. But we need to move deeper than head knowledge here; God wants you to experience the love He has for you. You see there is a huge difference in ‘knowing’ about something and ‘experiencing’ something. For example, I know about childbirth. I know what happens, I’ve seen the tears, I’ve heard the yelling and screaming, and I’ve seen the joy on the mothers face when it is over. I can tell someone all about childbirth, but I’ve never experienced it. Now my wife, on the other hand, she knows about childbirth and has experienced it. She can give insight that I am oblivious to, as well as memories that I will never fully understand. That is the transition that is taking place here. Paul is not asking for mere head knowledge, he is praying that we as a community of believers would experience the love of Christ. That we would feel the affection He has towards us who have been called by name. Let’s flash back to chapter 2 verses 4-10 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” This is the love God has for you. Do you see the extent He went to show you His love? Do you think He only wants you to read about it? When was the last time you stopped and prayed, “God I want to experience your love. I’ve read about it but right now I want to feel your affection toward me?” Now I am not saying every day you are going to be walking around and BAM you are overwhelmed with the affections of God and unable to be a functioning member of society. But knowledge without experience is dry.
I love how Paul is asking that we may know the unknowable. The love of Christ is so deep, wide, long, and high that no one will ever know it all, but boy is it worth searching out. What’s the point of all this? Why do we need to be strengthened with the Spirit? Why do we need Christ to dwell within our hearts? Why be rooted and grounded? Why experience God’s love? Because the more we know God, the more we love God. The more we love God, the more we follow God. And the more we follow God, the more we look like Christ. When we look like Christ we are filled with the fullness of God.
9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority (Colossians 2:9-10). Your joy is made complete when you express your love to God.
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