“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
- Ephesians 3:17-19
I want to start this post by saying that the world is desperate for a powerful church. That may sound like a strange way to start off a post about the love of God, but hopefully I can adequately show why these two must go together.
I have been desperate to see the power of God flow through my life for quite a few years now. I’ve hungered for it and recently I’ve begun to see it in greater ways. Just in the past couple months I’ve seen a man with a crippled knee be healed as I prayed for him in the middle of an airport concourse, I’ve seen a woman who could hardly walk a city block due to the effects of polio on her lungs and heart get healed as I prayed for her, and just a little while ago the Lord gave me a word of knowledge about my waitress and she broke down crying as I prayed for her right in the middle of a busy restaurant. But all of these encounters are an outflow and a result of the love of God.
As I said in my last blog post, great faith has firm roots in the love of God. In the same way, I would say that if we want to walk in a greater level of God’s power, we need a greater revelation of His love.
I have always had a passion to see signs, wonders, and miracles. I believe that these things are not only available for all believers, but that it’s impossible to walk out biblical Christianity without walking in signs, wonders, and miracles. They’re a requirement, not extra credit.
Although this is the case, we can have a desire to see signs and wonders yet pursue them for the wrong reasons. For me, I wanted to walk in miracles because it would increase my effectiveness when it came to evangelism. No one would be able refute the Gospel if they got healed when I prayed for them. Although it’s a noble desire, it’s still a lesser motivation.
When Jesus healed the sick it accomplished many things. It proved that He was the divine Son of God, it proved that His words were true, and it confirmed His authority. Although Jesus’ healings accomplished many things, they were never the reasons why He healed. His purpose in healing was simply that—to heal. Jesus’ loving compassion was His reason for healing. It’s the love of Christ that compels us (2 Cor. 5:14).
Convicted of Truth or Compelled by Love?
Nothing speaks to this reality better than 1 Corinthians 13, which says,
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing (verses 1-3)."
This passage blew my mind once I really began to have a context for what Paul is saying in these verses. Paul is telling us that we can have such great faith that no miracle is impossible for us, but if our actions are not motivated by and founded upon the love of God it means absolutely nothing.
I think the part that convicts me the most from this passage is that Paul says we can give our bodies to be burned as martyrs, but if it’s not motivated by love it means nothing.
I want to pause here for a moment because this is such a powerful (and not often spoken about) truth. Think about what Paul just said. It’s possible for us to have such a conviction about what we believe that we are willing to die for Jesus Christ, yet still be doing it for the wrong reasons.
Christian martyrdom is probably the highest form of sacrifice that we could attain to. If someone dies as a martyr they are held in high esteem by all, as they should be! But what if we were willing to give our lives for Christ, yet do it for the wrong reasons?
If we are willing to die for Christ because we know the Gospel is true, or simply because we know holding firm to our conviction is the right thing to do, it profits us nothing. Only if we are willing to die because of our great love for Christ does this action truly mean something. Are we convicted of truth or are we compelled by love?
Don’t Skip Step One!
For me, as I believe may be the case with many of us, I tried to skip to step two (walking in power, walking in the fruit of the Spirit, walking out the commands of Christ) without having a solid foundation. The love of God is our foundation. And just as a building with a faulty foundation will crumble, so will our works if they are not rooted and grounded in love.
We are to be rooted and grounded in love. The roots of a tree are what pull the nutrients and sustenance from the soil. A tree’s fruit will only be as good as the soil that it’s planted in. The same is true for us. If the soil that we are feeding off of is not the love of God, then the fruit that we bear will show it.