Learning to Know Our Father, Part 4: How to Understand God’s Love

As we saw in the last post in this series, when we don’t understand God’s love, it keeps us from having a great relationship with God. The love of God is the basis for our love for Him and others. Since He is love, if we don’t know His love, we don’t know Him.

You may be like me, however, and come from a spiritually abusive background where God’s love was distorted, minimized, and ignored. On the other hand, you may come from a background where God’s love meant that “everything goes” and God doesn’t care what you do. Reading the Bible, though, we see that God is neither a harsh dictator nor a soft fuzzy teddy bear.

So we realize that we don’t really know what God’s love is all about. Maybe, you know in your head that God loves you, that He sent Jesus to die for you because He loved you, blah, blah, blah—but you don’t know that love, from personal experience, even though you’ve been a Christian for years. This was my experience.

What do you do?

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he included a beautiful prayer for them that I believe gives us an answer.

For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be the glory in the assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

“Ask, and it will be given to you,” Jesus said. If you want to know the love of God, then ask Him to show it to you, and help you to comprehend it. Wow! Isn’t that simple?

I know. It sounds trite. But it’s true! It may not happen right away, but if you come to God in faith, He will show His love to you. Otherwise, He would be a liar!

I will warn you that in order to understand God’s love, you may have to give up some of your pre-conceived notions of what He is like. Sometimes, we believe things about God that prevent us from understanding His true nature and entering into a full relationship with Him. When you understand His love, you may find that some of your beliefs are wrong and have to change. But it will be for the better.

God further tells us that He is able to go exceedingly abundantly above anything we can ask or think to show His love to us and to help us to understand His love. Stop and think about that a moment. Imagine this: Whatever you can imagine—is the first level. God can surpass that imagination. But God can do even more than that. In fact, He can do abundantly more that you can imagine. But He can even surpass that level and do exceedingly more abundantly than anything you can ask or think: “exceedingly—abundantly—above—all that we ask or think.” Wow! That is how powerful God is! And that is how far He can go to reveal His love to you.

I believe that we should also follow Paul’s example in these verses and pray for others as well, that they, too, would know the mind-boggling love of Christ. We should pray, even for those who are seasoned Christians, that God would continue to reveal Himself to them and lead them into an ever-closer walk with Him.

Before we leave this passage, I would like to point out that part of being filled with all the fullness of God is to know the incredible, mind-boggling love of Christ. “…to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) This, again, shows why it’s so important to know and understand Christ’s love—so that we can be filled even more with Him!

In the next part, we’ll conclude by looking at what we are to do with God’s love.

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