“I pray that you … may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” - Ephesians 3:17-18
Two weeks ago, my oldest daughter Kayla graduated from high school. Because of COVID, her graduation ceremony was delayed a month and a half. But my wife Christine and I were so proud to finally see her don her cap and gown and receive her diploma. And knowing that soon she will be leaving for college, in recent months I’ve been thinking of Bible verses that I want to pass on to her and pray for her.
One passage that’s been on my mind a lot is Ephesians 3:17-19. Starting halfway through verse 17, it reads: “I pray that you, being 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.” This is one of my prayers for Kayla. I want her to be firmly rooted in God’s love, and I want her to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. But I don’t want her to simply “grasp” God’s amazing love; I want her to know His love personally.
Most people would agree that the most popular verse in the Bible is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Over the years that I’ve been in ministry, I have had more than a few conversations with people who believe that God so loved the world. But they weren’t so sure that God loved THEM.
Sometimes we doubt God’s love for us because of our own insecurities. At other times we doubt His love because our sin seems too big to forgive. And honestly, at times we just have a hard time wrapping our minds around the notion that the Creator of this huge universe would care about us. I’ll bet that at some point in your life you have wondered: “How could the Creator of the universe love ME?”
Well, to be honest, it’s completely illogical for the Creator of the universe to love you. After all, you’re NOT a big, important person. Your influence in this world is rather puny. Your natural resources are few and far between. And, just like the children of
, you’re stubborn—you do your fair share of obnoxious complaining and grumbling. In many ways, you and I are both unlovable. So, how could God love me? How could God love you?
Here’s the answer: God loves you, not because of who YOU are or what YOU’VE done. God loves you because of who HE is. When we doubt God’s love for us, it’s inevitably because we’re taking our eyes off Him and focusing on ourselves—on our own insecurities and shortcomings, our own sins and our insignificance. But that’s the wrong place to focus. God’s love for me has NEVER been primarily about me. It’s always been primarily about Him. 1 John 4:8 says point blank: “God is love.” And because God is love, He is going to love me no matter how obnoxious, unlovable and undeserving I am of His love. How could God love us? Because God IS love, and loving undeserving sinners like you and me is what He does best.
God’s love even transcends life and death. And that’s great news for you and me, because according to God’s word, our sins have made us all dead to God. Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world…gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.” Colossians 2:13 says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.” So, there’s no doubt about it. Our rebellious sins have made us spiritually dead to God. But Jesus is ready and willing to raise us back to life.
But why would he do that? Because in spite of ourselves, God loves us. In spite of ourselves, Jesus loves us. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” What a glorious verse! While we were still being selfish jerks, Jesus loved us and died for us anyway. While we were still breaking God’s laws and doing whatever we felt like doing, while we were still rebellious and stubborn and complaining and arguing, while we were completely undeserving and unappreciative and unlovable—Jesus loved us and died for us anyway. No wonder the Apostle John writes in 1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
My prayer for my daughter is one of my prayers for you as well. I want you to be firmly rooted in God’s love, and I want you to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. But I don’t want you to simply “grasp” God’s amazing love; I want you to know His love personally—“that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our live outdoor worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at
17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.