Links Daily Devotional

Vastness and Mystery

And 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. (Ephesians 3:18-19, NIV)

Seventh at PebbleWe rightly laud golf courses that give us spectacular views from tee to green and sometimes beyond. There is a reason, for instance, that the seventh hole at Pebble Beach shows up in photograph after photograph. In the images of that little par-3, we see the tee, the bunkering, the target, and the trouble. But we also see the extras: the driftwood fence, the picturesque drop in elevation, and the waves framing the right and the rear of that tiny green.

But here’s the deal, if you play golf. Sooner or later, you have to go to work. That is, you have to gauge the wind and pull a club. You have to hit a shot.

And I am afraid that in that hitting, all that is spectacular about the seventh at Pebble is lost. We trade the wonder for the worry and the work. We become shamefully utilitarian.

Maybe I’ve made more of this than necessary. But what I hope I have made is the beginning of a point. And that point is this: we can become so engaged sometimes in “living the Christian life” that we forget the wonder of the Christ for whom we are living.

In his sweeping prayer of hope written to the Ephesians, Paul wanted them to “get it.” He wanted them to lay hold of every bit of understanding their minds could handle about this Savior they professed to follow. Paul knew that to know Christ’s love surpassed all the rest of the knowledge they would accumulate in their lives.

Christ, Paul wrote, offers a love that is “wide and long and high and deep.” It is possible that the apostle had some specific idea in mind for each of these adjectives—the width of its reach to all who would receive it, the length of its eternal endurance, the height of its stretch to the Father in heaven, and the depth of its impact on the soul of each believer. Maybe not. Maybe instead he was simply pushing the Ephesians as far as their human thinking might stretch in grasping the infinite nature of Christ and His love. Either way, to contemplate this fullness of Christ and the full nature of the Triune God leaves us breathless. The question is whether we dare stay there.

Oh, I know. Balance. We must have balance. We’ve considered that need this very week. But here’s the point again: The gospel comes from God. The Christian life comes from God. You and I come from God. And so God Himself is where we must begin and where we must remain and where we must return in our best thinking. Let our best living flow from there.

Jeff Hopper

October 27, 2011

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