This week we are looking at Ephesians 3:17-19a. “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…”
The love that we have for Jesus is incomparable to the love He has for us. God’s love is “agape” love. Spiros Zodhiates in his Complete Word Study Bible, defines it as “God’s willful direction toward man. It involves God doing what He knows is best for man and not necessarily what man desires.” It is God choosing to love despite what it costs Him. “The unconditional [agape] love of God establishes and stabilizes believers.” We know from John 3:16 that God loved the whole world so much He sent His only Son to die for us. At the moment we receive Christ, God pours His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Paul tells us in Ephesians that we have been rooted and grounded in love. But we will never truly experience this love of God until we are being strengthened by His Spirit in the inner man so that Christ is accommodated in every room of our hearts through faith. When we are yielded to His Spirit, we become tangible expressions of His unconditional love.
You see, “until you are strengthened in the inner man by His Spirit you have zero capacity to love the unlovable. Faith is the key to accommodating His life in you.” Faith is the willingness to be persuaded. “To live by faith is to take God at HIs Word, believing Who He says He is and what He says about His desire to do His work in, to, and through you. Faith is more than some simple mental understanding, but includes a persuasion and a surrender. A persuasion that He is God (and you are not)!”
To be truly surrendered by faith is where worship begins. “As we recognize His worth, worship flows out from the heart into the behavior. Faith is not only a conviction that there is a God, faith is also a persuasion of and a surrender to the truthfulness of God. This surrender produces a conduct that exhibits that private persuasion publicly. You could say that “faith is a conviction, a surrender, and a conduct that flows out publicly from that private surrender.”
“This saving faith begins with a humility before God. Faith sets the tone in the house of my heart for Christ to feel at home. Faith accommodates the King of kings and Lord of lords.” As we surrender to Christ by faith, we come to realize that “Christ in [us] is the only hope of unconditional love because He is the source of unconditional love.” Our surrender to Him suddenly moves us to a “higher plane as His love flows through [us] to others, even the ‘difficult’ others in [our] lives.”
“Being rooted and grounded in love is a result of salvation; being strengthened with the power of the Spirit in the inner man is turning the corner to allow His love to flow through us.” When His love is flowing through us, we know that Christ is comfortably dwelling in our hearts! When we are allowing His Spirit to strengthen us with power in the inner man, we find the strength to comprehend His great love for us which surpasses knowledge.
God’s love has “breadth and height and depth. The breadth of Christ’s love covers both Jew and Gentile, ‘for through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.’ The length of Christ’s love is ‘He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 2:18, Ephesians 1:4). His love is from everlasting to everlasting! “The height of His love is so high that He gives us spiritual blessings that reach to the heavenlies. The depth of His love reaches to the lowest point a man can ever stoop” (Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 2:1-5). Corrie Ten Boon once said, “There is no pit so deep that His love is not deeper still.”
God’s love is overwhelming, yet He gives us the strength to comprehend it when we are surrendered to Him. He desires us to know and experience His love. As we have been saying, this experience involves not only experiencing His love for us, but also experiencing His love through us. “This love for us, is also a divine love pipeline through us, a mighty rushing current that motivates us as a love slave to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We are rooted and grounded in His love. The idea of the word “rooted” is to be firmly fixed. “Christ is the supply, and He routes His love through me. I can’t love with His love apart from Him loving through me. He never said I could. He can, and He always said He would. Paul says we possess a divine source in Christ. Christ is the one and only source of unconditional love. When I experience His love for me, my response is love for Him and for others.”
The idea of the word “grounded” is to be fixed on a firm foundation. “Not only does everything spring forth from love, but everything is built upon the foundation of love.” Love is a choice which is ultimately decided when we choose to surrender to Christ in each moment. “When [we] choose to allow Christ to dominate [our] lives then His unconditional (agape) love wells up within [us] and bubbles out to others. this love is selfless, sincere, and flows out of a servant’s love.” It is a sacrificial love.
“Hey, you want to experience agape love? Begin to accommodate Christ by faith in your life. Begin to allow His Spirit to strengthen you with power in the inner man. Be rooted and grounded in Christ, the source of agape love, and His love will spring forth through your life. Every word and deed will flow out from His love which is strengthened (rooted) and built upon a solid foundation (grounded).”
“Folks, don’t miss out! If you’re in Christ, you’ve been rooted in the Source of divine love, invited to participate with Him in order that His strength and unconditional love might flow through you. Because His love is unconditional, it will spring forth in your life as you draw from His divine ability to nourish you and to strengthen you in the inner man. this is the normal Christian life. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.”
Chapter 4: Daily Reflections
Day One: The Love of God
- Read Romans 8:38-39 and list everything you learn about God’s love.
- Read Romans 5:5 and record what God has done in our hearts.
- Read 1 John 4:9-10. How is God’s love manifested in us?
Day Two: The Fruit of the Spirit
- Read Galatians 5:22-23. Notice that the word “fruit” in verse 22 is singular. What is the singular “fruit” the Spirit produces in our lives as we yield to Him? What are the evidences of that fruit (v 22-23)?
- Read 1 John 3:16-18. What do you learn about God’s love?
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. What does the love of Christ do for us? Why did Christ die according to verse 15? How does that remind you of dying to self?
Day Three: Faith
- Read Galatians 2:20-21. How do we live?
- Read Romans 5:2. What do you learn from this verse about grace and faith?
- Read Hebrews 11. What do you learn from this chapter about faith and living by faith?
Day Four: Rooted
- Read Colossians 2:6-7. What do you learn about our position in Christ and how we are to walk?
- The Greek word for “rooted” means “to be rooted, strengthened with roots, firmly fixed, constant” (Zodhiates).
- Read Jeremiah 17:7-8. How does this describe a person rooted in Christ?
Day Five: Grounded
- The Greek word for “grounded” means “to found, to lay the foundation of; metaphorically, to ground, establish, confirm” (Zodhiates).
- Read Colossians 1:21-23. What were we before we were grounded and established on a firm foundation in Christ?
- What example do you see in Luke 6:47-48 about being grounded in Christ?
All italicized quotes that are not Scripture quotes or cited from an author, are direct quotes by Wayne A. Barber from the book, "The Surrendered Life."