Ephesians 3:19 - Experience the Love of Christ and the Fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19 - Experience the Love of Christ and the Fullness
Ephesians 3:19 (NLT) May you experience the love of Christ,
though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made
complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:19 (EAV) [That you may really come] to know
[practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far
surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled
[through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the
richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled
and flooded with God Himself]!
The student of Scripture looks, as it were, into a fountain
that deepens and broadens as he gazes into its depths. Not in this
life shall we comprehend the mystery of God's love in giving His Son
to be the propitiation for our sins. The work of our Redeemer on
this earth is and ever will be a subject that will put to the stretch
our highest imagination. Man may tax every mental power in the
endeavor to fathom this mystery, but his mind will become faint and
weary. The most diligent searcher will see before him a boundless,
The truth as it is in Jesus can be experienced, but never
explained. Its height and breadth and depth pass our knowledge. We may task
our imagination to the utmost, and then we shall see only dimly the
outlines of a love that is unexplainable, that is as high as heaven, but
that stooped to the earth to stamp the image of God on all mankind.
God's love is total. It reaches every corner of our
experience. It is wide - it covers the breadth of our own experience, and it
reaches out to the whole world. God's love is long - it continues every
moment of our lives, past, present, and future. It is high - it rises
to the heights of our celebration and elation. His love is deep -
it reaches to the depths of discouragement, despair, and even
The "fullness of life and power" that God gives us comes from
being united with Christ (Colossians 2: 9-10). It is by trusting
Christ that we are united with him. "Christ will make his home in your
hearts as you trust in him."
Whether you are excited for the future, regretting the past,
discouraged by the present, or filled with hope, remember that you can never
be lost to God's love (Rom. 8:38-39). "May you experience the love
of Christ." [One Year NLT SB re Eph. 3:17-19]
LOVE THAT LEAPS AND RUNS
Thomas A Kempis obviously read with awe and delight Paul's
great love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. He becomes rhapsodic as he
expands on its soaring themes, saying, "Love is a mighty power. It bears
every hardship. The love of Jesus inspires us to great deeds. Love
flies, runs, and leaps for joy - free and unrestrained."
When we read Paul's remarkable and oft-quoted chapter on
love, we may feel such awe ourselves. Yet even though we may be lifted
and inspired by these descriptions of magnificent love, it can seem
far from our personal experience. What, really, is this love the
apostle Paul and Thomas a Kempis are so rapturous about?
The apostle John tells us that "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16,
NLT). That's counter-intuitive - a revelation in light of the tragedy
and misery in this world. Yet this is what Scripture reveals as the
truly Good News, as announced by the angels when Jesus was born.
So how does all this affect us in the nitty-gritty of our
lives? Thomas a Kempis says, "Love rests in the One above all things,
not caring about things but turns to the Giver of all good gifts."
Only God can put within us this love that conquers all and
leaps for joy. We surely can't conjure it up on our own.
That's particularly true when it comes to demonstrating love
to others. In John's second epistle, he writes that we should love
one another. "This is not a new commandment, but one we have had
from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and
he has commanded us to love one another" (2 John 1:5-6, NLT).
When faced with that commandment and all the other challenges
of our spiritual journey, we turn to the one who is the Giver of
all good gifts.
Heavenly Father, I boldly ask you for this gift of love. Put
within me the love that you have shown in your Word. Help me to feel
your freedom, and to share your love with others. [The One Year Book
of Encouragement by Harold Myra]
DESPITE THE SOOT
D. L. Moody believed that if people could only understand
that God is love, they would be irresistibly drawn to him. Yet he
sensed that most people saw God as an angry judge or too distant to
care about them.
Moody was so anxious to burn this truth into people's minds
that he set up gas jets right above the pulpit - yes, gas jets! - to
spell out the words GOD IS LOVE.
A man walking by glanced in and saw the words. As he walked
on, he thought, God is not love. God does not love me, a miserable
sinner. Yet the words burned into his soul. He later came back to the
meeting, and afterward Moody found him weeping. When the evangelist told
the man that God had loved him from the beginning of his life, the
light of the gospel finally broke through to him.
Despite all our sins and failures, God still loves us. Like
the father in Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son, God waits with
open arms, whether we've been scrubbed clean or come fresh from the
Moody told a true story reminiscent of Jesus' parable. A boy
in London had been stolen from his family and forced to work for
years as a chimney sweep. His grieving mother prayed constantly for
her little boy, but years went by with no word of him. One day, the
boy came down the wrong chimney - and it turned out to be the right
one! He found himself standing in a room that looked strangely
As he stood in his rags, covered with soot, his mother
entered the room. When she saw her boy, she took him in her arms, all
dirty and smoky, and hugged him while shedding tears of joy.
Moody said that's what God is like toward each of us. He
quoted God's assurance in Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved thee with an
everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee" (KJV).
Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I may experience
your love and share your love with others. So often I don't feel your
love; help me to obey and act in ways that open the gates for your
love to flow. [The One Year Book of Encouragement by Harold Myra vss.
WHAT'S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?
Brother Lawrence was convinced he knew what the worst thing
that could happen to him was. He said that for him to lose the sense
of God's presence would be worse than being flayed alive.
Most of us can barely imagine the horror of being whipped to
death, but Brother Lawrence lived in a time when that happened to
people. Yet he said that losing the sense of God's presence would be
At the same time, he didn't believe he would lose that
precious sense. He felt that "the lovingkindness of God" assured him God
would not completely abandon him and would give him strength to bear
such evil as might befall him.
Clearly, Brother Lawrence had a friendship with God somehow
more intense and real than most of us experience. Why? Lawrence
explains his perspective: "We are to be pitied for being satisfied with
so little. God has boundless treasures to give us." He says we're
too easily contented. "We bind the hands of God, and we stem the
abundance of his grace. When he finds a soul imbued with living faith,
into it he pours grace on grace, a flowing stream which spreads wide
with force abundantly."
Yet, he adds, "We often check this torrent for the small
regard we have for it. Let us check it no more and make an open way for
We may not all experience the same depths of fellowship and
joy in God that Brother Lawrence did. Few people do. But we can
consider his remarkable example and open our hearts to "make an open way
for grace." Who knows what may then begin to happen in our souls!
Lord, help me to be "imbued with living faith." Make me
sensitive to your whispers, encouragements, cautions, and shouts. Pour
into me, I pray, your grace as a flowing stream. [The One Year Book
of Encouragement by Harold Myra]
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great
to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the
fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:19
"It is too great to understand fully." Paul has grasped the
irony of what he's asking. He has prayed that his readers will
understand and experience the love of Christ - and its width, length,
height, and depth - but knows they will never understand it fully. Even
so, the promise behind the prayer is staggering: "that you may be
filled with all the fullness of God" (v. 19, NKJV).
Some translations rearrange Paul's words because the literal
translation is incomprehensible. We can "be filled with all the fullness of
God"? Really? We're finite and He's infinite; "all" His fullness is
too much for us. But the extravagant words of the original text are
meant to stretch us, to drive us to our knees at the shocking
suggestion that we are vessels not just of a small taste of God but of God
in abundance. Though the promise seems too great, it accurately
expresses God's heart. He wants to fill us with all His fullness. Like a
smitten lover or beaming parent, He longs to pour all of Himself into
us. His heart overflows.
Soak in the depths of His love. It's perhaps the most widely
known yet least-experienced aspect of His character. Most Christian
minds are amply aware of it, but few Christian hearts have let it
really sink in. Spend some time letting it sink in - deeply and
thoroughly. Yes, the promise is unimaginable, but imagine it anyway. The
fullness of God's life and power is in it.
Jesus, thank You for pouring Yourself out into me. Let Your
love sink into my heart. I want to soak in it, savor it, and overflow
with love back to You. Please increase my capacity to experience You.
[The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will
empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Ephesians 3:16
A lot of people live for the weekend. Or the next vacation.
Or even the next good night's sleep. Why? Because we need to
recharge. Life has a way of beating us down, draining our energy, and
sapping our strength. And the only way many people know to recharge is
to withdraw from stressful situations and relax.
There's nothing wrong with relaxing; God designed us to rest
and refresh. But that isn't the only way for us to regain strength.
In fact, we have a supernatural power supply. In the depths of our
spirit, where the Holy Spirit dwells, God offers us "unlimited
resources" - or as other translations put it, riches from His glory. So
even when we can't get away from our stresses, we can tap into an
unlimited source of divine strength.
Many of us forget our power supply. We rely on our own
strength, and when it runs out, we default to natural means of coping. The
Presence of the Spirit doesn't guarantee strength for us; we have to
consciously depend on Him - to "plug in" to the supply. And in order to do
that, we have to remember that He is readily available with the vast
resources of God.
When you're feeling exhausted - spiritually, mentally,
emotionally, physically, or any other way - look with eyes of faith to the
Spirit that dwells within you. You'll have to consciously decide to do
that, and you'll need to ask for His strength to sustain you. But you
will find Him more than willing to show His strength in your
weakness. He lives within you to show Himself in times of need.
Spirit, I'm out if strength. I've got nothing lift. Even when
I'm strong, I need to depend on You. That's even more true when I'm
weak. Please show Yourself strong in me. Fill me with the riches and
resources of God. [The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by
Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.
Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong.
Familiarity breeds contempt, it's often said. That's a
reliable statement in many relationships, perhaps, but it's not true of
our relationship with Jesus. True familiarity - real knowledge of
Him rather than assumptions about Him - breeds depth. The more we
get to know Him, the deeper He takes us.
The key mechanism by which that happens is faith. Jesus
becomes more at home in our hearts as we trust Him. His Presence is
always there - He assured us of that in the new birth - but His
Presence doesn't have much practical benefit for us unless we learn to
rely on Him, trust His work, and experience Him. And the only way to
have that kind of faith is to know its roots. We believe not because
we can muster up faith but because we're rooted in love. We can
trust someone we love.
That's why Paul prays not only that his readers would know
the Presence of Jesus through faith, but that their hearts would be
deeply rooted in God's love. We aren't just after the practical
benefits of His Presence; that would be utilitarian spirituality. No,
this is personal. It's relational. We experience His Presence through
faith in Him, and our faith is based in His love.
Know God's love. Then you can trust Jesus, and your trust
will cultivate your awareness of His Presence. And He will be more
and more at home in your heart.
Jesus, make Yourself at home in my heart. Let my roots grow
deep into Your love, and let my trust in You grow stronger and fuller
every day. [The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by
And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people
should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
Imagine the most intense feelings of love you've ever felt -
that time you felt your heart was about to explode because of your
overwhelming affection for someone. Now imagine those feelings doubling. And
doubling again. And again. Your heart would have a hard time handling
such intensity, wouldn't it?
Yet that intensity is only a tiny fraction of God's love for
each of His children. The dimensions of His love are
incomprehensible, but we're encouraged to try to understand it anyway. Paul prays
for God to reveal it to us - the only way we can really even begin
to grasp it. And even though we'll never truly understand the
magnitude of that love, it's encouraging enough just to be told that it's
beyond our wildest imagination. Though we can't measure it, we can
That's important. It's one thing to know of God's love - even
the youngest children in Sunday school have been told about it - but
knowledge isn't enough. A marriage certificate or an old love letter may
testify to love, but a spouse still needs to be reminded of it and feel
it often. A child may "know" a parent's love, but knowing, without
personal and affectionate embraces and conversations, doesn't satisfy.
Those who love want the objects of their love to experience it fully.
Anything less is disappointing, to both the lover and the loved.
Accept the truth of God's love, but do more than that. Ask to
understand it, grasp it, feel it, experience it, and dive into its depths.
God isn't satisfied with our head knowledge, and neither are we. His
love is meant to be fully encountered.
Lord, I know you don't offer Your love to be experienced
halfway. You want us to experience it as fully as we can. I believe that
and ask for it. Help me understand - and feel - the enormity of Your
love. [The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris
By the ripe old age of twenty, I had journeyed with Jesus for
thirteen years. A special connection with some friends and one professor
at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Rick Ryding, had helped me
develop a deeper, more consistent faith. Spiritual markers in my life
were making me a confident Christian. God would do this, and I would
be amazed; God would say that, and I would be in awe. Without
realizing it, I began to become complacent, believing that I had
"arrived," that I had seen the breadth, length, height, and depth of God's
In a group study of Ephesians, my eyes were opened. I came to
realize that God's love was beyond my knowledge. Not so far beyond that
I could never know it, but so great that I would never find the
end of it. In my thirteen-year walk, I thought I had seen it all.
But it dawned on me that if I walked with Christ for thirteen
thousand years, I would still awaken each morning to brand-new mercies.
No matter how many our days, God's love is so wide, long,
high, and deep that we will never fully comprehend it - not because he
won't let us but because he loves us that much. And because of that
love, we may be filled to the measure of all God's fullness!
Brad Taylor, graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University in
2000, is associate pastor of community at Beavercreek Church of the
Nazarene, husband to Kari, and father to Braden. [The One Year Bible Live
LINK FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE:
EXCELLENT VIDEO SERIES ON EXPERIENCING GOD:
EXCELLENT BIBLE PROPHECY SERIES BY DR RON CLOUZET JUST CONCLUDED: