I love to feel loved. A hug, a kind word, a helpful act, an affirming look – those expressions of love are wonderful! I don’t think that is a bad thing; I think God created us to love and be loved. But I confess that sometimes, it is hard for me to really grasp God’s love for me.
Love, in general, is an abstract concept. It is hard enough to define horizontal love between people, let alone vertical love with a God we can’t physically see and touch. In person-to-person love – with a parent, spouse, child, friend – you know it when you experience it and feel its impact. But that is also true with God – we know his love when we experience it – or better yet, experience him. The challenge is that often the love of God feels more abstract, more removed, more difficult to see, and easier to forget.
We need help if we’re going to understand, receive, and live in the love of God. That is why we should pray the heart of Ephesians 3:16-19 for ourselves and others.
“I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (CSB).
We need the power of the Holy Spirit, we need Christ to dwell in our hearts, to even comprehend how long, wide, high, and deep the love of God truly is. It is a love so magnificent, so infinite, so overwhelming that it surpasses our own knowledge!
Here on earth we may never know the love of God fully, but we can know his love deeply and personally. We can truly experience his love. The fact is, he has revealed his love to us in a way that we can grasp. We can see his love, we can know his love because of Jesus. He came to live a righteous life for us, to die an atoning death for us, and to rise in victory for us. God so loves the world that he gave his only Son! See, the coming of Christ is the highest pinnacle, the ultimate demonstration, the supreme revelation of God’s love. 1 John 4:9-10 says,
“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (CSB).
When you struggle to really grasp and understand the love of God for you, meditate on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And remember this: God didn’t just love the “world” or send his Son into the “world” as an in-descript blob. He loves each of his children individually, specifically, personally.
- The Father loves and saved his children individually. “See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children – and we are!” (1 Jo 3:1). He calls me his son. He calls you his daughter.
- The Son loves and died for each of us specifically. “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:19). Live by faith every day in this reality.
- The Spirit loves and fills us personally. “God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:5). Open your heart and let God’s love pour in!
God, help us to know your love, to grasp your love, and to walk in your love!