Rekindling Lost Love
Rekindling Lost Love
“What happened to our love?” Most marriages ask this question at some point. Falling in love is wonderful and exciting. Staying in love, showing love for each other, and having eyes to see that love is where the relationship gets more difficult.
The Bible is a love story. God our Father created us as people to belong to himself. Though Israel would wander away from her first love, God would remind her over and over again that she belonged to him: “Your maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name” (Isaiah 54:5). Christ begins his exhortations to the churches in Revelation by calling the Ephesian Christians back to their first love. The promise at the close of the book is that we will be presented to our husband, “for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).
I have to confess: most days I don’t feel ready for that wedding. I am too busy achieving and accomplishing, to remember to seek to kindle love for Christ, and to remember his love for me. Our love for Him is always initiated and set on fire by his love for us.
When the apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Ephesus he knew this problem. In Ephesians 1:18, Paul says something strange: our hearts have eyes, and they were intended to grasp deep and wonderful reality about God’s love for us. In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul is on his knees begging that we would see Christ’s love for us in a fresh and transforming way.
Three beautiful truths from Ephesians 3:14-21 enable us to rekindle lost love. First, love flows from all three persons of the trinity. Second, we lack power, in ourselves, to see and enjoy the majesty of God’s love. Third, when we cry out in desperation to to see God’s love for us in Christ again, we are asking the one who is actually able to answer our prayers “abundantly more than we ask or think.”
First, love flows from all three persons of the trinity. When Paul is pleading that the Ephesians would comprehend God’s love for them, he begins with the Father. “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…” The next phrase is hard to translate, but gets at the reality that all families on earth are dependent on God the Father. Comprehending God’s love, therefore, is completely dependent on the Father. He’s the one who can “grant us to be strengthened with power …in your inner being.” But the very essence of being “rooted and grounded in love” Paul describes as Christ living in our hearts by faith. When we look away from ourselves, empty and needy, and cast ourselves on the mercy and grace of God, Christ comes to make a home in us. John 14:23 says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come and make our home with him.” But the one who enables all this is the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we would have no ability to be take in the beauty of the love of God for us.
Second, Paul is very clear that we are utterly incapable, in ourselves, of grasping God’s love. Prayer is so necessary in the Christian life because it demonstrates our powerlessness. Prayer says, “I can’t do this on my own” when every other part of our life is demanding we get to work, be productive and efficient. Therefore, Paul says that on our own we lack the powerful ability of grasping God’s love for us in Christ: “that he may grant you to be strengthened with power…” (vs. 16) so that you “…may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height and depth…” (vs. 18). Do you want to have Christ’s tender yet massive love rekindled in your heart? According to Paul, all we have to do is ask.
But finally, third, God loves to answer this prayer: “now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than we ask or think, according to the power at work in us” (vs. 20). In our prayers, we often can feel like we are asking too much of God, as our Father. Paul calls us to see that the Father is abundantly more able and willing to answer our prayers than we realize. We often underestimate God’s loving disposition towards us. We’re like little children, hungry and needy, distracted in our corner of the house, but completely forgetting that we have a Father who owns everything, who desires us to see his infinite, glorious, persistent love for us. The proof of this disposition was shown by the Father sending his most loved Son into the world, to purchase sinful, forgetful people. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
If your love has grown cold today, all you have to do is ask. Ask the Father to enable you to be rooted and grounded in the love of His Son, through the Spirit. He promises you can know “the love of God that passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
What Pastor Adrian is reading…
Michael Morales “Who Will Ascend the Mountain of the Lord” This is a great exposition of themes in the book of Leviticus, how this middle book of the Pentateuch emphasizes the goal of the whole Bible: that God’s people would enter into a life of communion with him.
Kevin Harney “Organic Outreach for Churches: Infusing Evangelistic Passion in Your Local Congregation” I recently began a reading group with other pastors desiring to grow their churches in evangelism. I look forward to seeing how the Lord will work through this group to grow our passion to reach the lost.