"Back up and Punt." That is exactly what we are continuing to do this week to set the stage of our hearts. All so we can move forward and continually achieve the goal of life and freedom we long for. In a recent blog (Bold Love) it was mentioned that repentance for the wounded includes a refusal to be "dead," a refusal to mistrust (not care about) others, and a refusal to despise intimacy and passion. Before we can embrace these themes, we need to be reminded of how God fiercely loves us and experience more of his fierce love. To help accomplish this, I will be reposting a few key blogs throughout this week and next.
God's Love, Part XI: "Experience the Height"
“And I pray that you, having been rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 17b-19)
Which one of us has not marveled at some time in our life, at the billions of stars winking to us each night? Or pondered the magnificence of the sun and moon? How free they appear in all their glory. Oh that we could ride the waves of the Milky Way, and explore the mystery of the planets...and of our own souls. To rise with them to such heights where we are no longer captive to the troubles of this life.
Close your eyes and envision the person you long to be, all that you dream you could be…no longer at war within yourself, confident, sure, free of all shame and the labels of your past, both other- and self-inflicted.
It is possible dear friends. By it’s height, God’s love entitles us and raises us up to a most excellent happiness and glory through Jesus.
“He [Jesus] climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the booty. He handed it all out in gifts to the people. Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to the highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts.” (Ephesians 4:8-10, The Message)
Through His death, bearing all our sin, Jesus went to the very depths of the earth. In doing so, He seized our enemies (According to Matthew Henry, Commentary, all that “had conquered us—such as sin, the devil, and death”). All that held us captive, He took captive unto Himself. He then rose to the highest height, carrying the booty with him—everything the enemy had stolen from us and all the things we’ve given up. And the best part is…He gives it all back to us!
In doing so, we are freed to experience the height of His love.
A little word study might help us out here. Webster’s New World Dictionary and Thesaurus define “height” as the topmost point, the highest limit/extreme, the very distance from the bottom to the top. The word “high” in the same book is defined as superior, and greater in size, amount, degree, etc. than usual. The same word used in our key verse, Ephesians 3:18, stems from a root word in the Greek language meaning “for the sake of,” and “over, beyond, more than.”
In simple terms: On our behalf, God’s love—which is superior to all—reaches to the uttermost depths to rescue us; lifting us to the highest height, over and beyond all that we could possibly hope, imagine, or dream. Joy and peace return to us. Life returns, to the fullest! Enjoyment and laughter. Hope. Courage. On and on the list goes.
Such love surpasses mere knowledge, as the beginning scripture states. It can only be understood by experience! The reason God’s role as Lover is so important and key to our story is because it is His love that woos us and draws us into a relationship with Him. All that He has done for us through His Son, He did so out of love to free us from captivity and win us back to Himself.
It is more than a “get out of hell free” card. God’s love invites us into an epic adventure, with the freedom to explore all His mysteries, which are even greater than the mysteries of the stars and space. We can trade our sin and shame, and all the labels of our past for a freedom and a love that catapults us to new heights. This is how high God’s love is…and even then, it exceeds our prayers, desires, hopes, and dreams.
Believe it's true. Believe it's for you.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me [Jesus, Luke 4:18-21],
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
(Isaiah 61:1-3, NLT)