Pursuing His Love

I have been reflecting a lot about love lately. 

Maybe the rom-coms my mom and I have been watching recently are partially to blame. Maybe it’s because last year brought the beginnings of new friendships and connections. Maybe it’s because it also brought about the abrupt end of some. 

Maybe it’s because our pastor friends from out of town were guest-speaking last weekend and my mom lovingly encouraged my single-almost 20-year-old-university-student self to go to their “practical parenting” session.

But maybe it’s because during that session I was moved to tears. Because I felt the Holy Spirit showing me the places in my heart where I needed to ask my parents for forgiveness. I cried a lot. Honestly, I think I cried more than the actual parents who were actually supposed to be there. But God knew I needed it. 

This weekend, January 27/28, we’re continuing our series “In Habit” and a verse we’ll focus on comes from Ephesians 3. I wanted to share specifically verses 17b-19.  

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 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.”

It’s interesting that in the first half of this verse, Paul prays that “we grasp” the love of Christ but then says “and to know this love surpasses knowledge.” My initial thought was “Which one is it, Paul? Are we to understand or not?”

But then the Holy Spirit patiently taught my heart again: we are to understand that our human minds and human experiences limit us from fully comprehending the weight and the profoundness of His Love. But that knowing that we are limited in our understanding should not stop us from pursuing Love!

I came across this beautiful 15-day devotional on the Youversion Bible app called “New Year, New Mercies” written by Paul Tripp. 

On one of the days, Tripp has us read Psalm 136. Here are the last 3 verses.

He remembered us in our low estate, His love endures forever.

And freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever.

He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.

A total of 26 times does God reiterate how His love endures in this chapter! Why does God repeat this over and over through the pen of the psalmist?

Tripp proposes two answers to this.

“First, there is no reality more radical and foundational to a biblical worldview and a personal sense of identity than this. What is the biblical story? It’s the story of a God of love invading the world in the person of His Son of love to establish His kingdom of love by a radical sacrifice of love, to forgive us in love and draw us into His family of love, and to send us out as ambassadors of the very same love.

The entire hope of fallen humanity rests on this one thing—that there is a Savior who is eternally steadfast in redeeming, forgiving, reconciling, transforming, and delivering love. 

Without this, the Bible is a book of interesting stories and helpful principles, but it is devoid of any power to fix what sin has broken.

The second reason God repeats this refrain is that we have no experience in our lives of this kind of love. “

All the love we have ever experienced in our lifetime—all the human love—is broken in some way, shape, or form. But His Love isn’t.

And so, as the first month of the new year draws to a close, I am encouraged to pursue Love! And to keep learning to love the way Jesus loves, recognizing this is a lifelong process. I am challenged to forgive quickly and more often, to extend grace and receive grace. All while remembering that while it is a journey, we are enabled and empowered to love because we ourselves are loved with an everlasting love. 

And I extend this encouragement to you: we will, again and again, find that His love is right there with us.

I end my reflection with a final quote from Tripp:

“[This] is the single most stunning reality in the life of a believer. God has placed His love on us and He will never again remove it. There’s a reason to continue, no matter how hard life seems and how weak you feel.”

Written by Angel Castillo, the Communications Administrator.

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