This article is an excerpt from Priceless: Finding Your Value in God, a 6-week study from the Winter 2016 Bible Studies for Life. Learn more about this curriculum and preview three sessions for free at lifeway.com/biblestudiesforlife.
Strengthened by God’s Power
My wife’s parents came to visit. We lead busy lives, so my in-laws thought they would help by vacuuming the house while we were at work. Not a problem, since we bought a brand-new vacuum cleaner the day before.
When we came home, they were sitting on the couch, red-faced, sweating, and exhausted! “That new vacuum cleaner is so heavy, we can hardly push it! We had to sit down and rest after vacuuming each room.”
My wife and I began to laugh! This brand new vacuum cleaner has a great feature, a power assist that makes vacuuming almost effortless. It only takes a featherlike touch to push the system. My in-laws, however, were trying to vacuum the entire house in neutral. They never put it in drive.
We all had a big laugh, but then the thought occurred to me: that is exactly how many of us try to live the Christian life. God has given us an incredible power—a supernatural power—in His Holy Spirit. His power is there for us. All the time. We simply need to appropriate it.
God empowers us to know and walk in His love.
Wind can play havoc with the trees in your yard. Strangely, though, a strong wind blows through and knocks over a nice shade tree, yet ten feet away another tree stands firm. What made the difference? The roots. The deeper the roots go, the sturdier the tree is.
Of course, what surrounds those roots also matters. Any eight-year-old boy who has ever played in the dirt knows there’s a big difference between sand and well-packed dirt. Most of the “health issues” a tree faces comes from the type of soil it is in.
The roots of a Christian also matter. As the psalmist described, an obedient follower of God is “like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Ps. 1:3).
Where are your roots? What gives you stability and nourishment? When we are empowered by God’s Spirit and Jesus dwells in our hearts, we become “rooted and firmly established in love.” When the winds of difficulties and even opposition blow against us, the love we experience through Jesus Christ keeps us grounded and strong.
Paul’s prayer for us is not that we would have this love—it’s already ours in Christ—but that we would “comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love.” We can talk about the dimensions or directions of God’s love, but we can’t define its limits.
Paul’s desire is for us to “know the Messiah’s love,” but he contended that such love “surpasses knowledge.” To surpass is to exceed, to be greater than; therefore, how can we know something that exceeds knowing? That sounds like an oxymoron, a contradiction of terms such as jumbo shrimp or plastic silverware. But we can know God’s love, even though we will never fully know it. We can continually be discovering the depths of God’s love without ever touching bottom.
God’s love is something we will not be able to fully explain, but it is something we can fully experience.
Excerpted from Bible Studies for Life: Priceless © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.