“This is why I kneel before the Father. Every ethnic group in heaven or on earth is recognized by him. I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God. Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:14-21 CEB
“I’ve always loved the idea of summer, and sun, and all things hot.” -Olaf of Arendelle
The summer of 2007 was perhaps the best ever. I graduated from UGA and then two weeks later Audrey I got married. (Runner ups include 2003 high school, 2012 seminary, 2013 daughter 1, 2015 daughter two and provisional ordination, and coming soon, 2019 ordained in full connection.). But back to Audrey, some people are worth melting for (another Olaf quote, try to keep up). The above verses (not the Olaf verses, the ones from Ephesians) were supposed to be read at our wedding. Instead, we printed the program wrong and Ephesians 4:14-21 was read....which sends a very different message. When you get a chance read about the corruption and greed of the Gentiles and imagine yourself a guest at our wedding. Luckily for us (but bad for the Bible), nobody was paying attention except us. Probably because of how pretty Audrey was/is.
We wanted this passage because in our marriage we wanted our marriage and our whole lives to be based on being rooted in the love of Christ, understanding that love, and being filled with the fullness of God. Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far you want to know (as we’re still growing to know) what all that really means. So let’s break it down.
“Whoa, you really don’t know anything about love, do you?” -Olaf to Anna, and anyone else (like us sometimes) who think love is only romantic love.
The whole book of Ephesians outlines how God is putting the world back together, bringing all things under Christ, through love. He brings all nations or “ethnic groups” together through love. Not just so we can feel great but so that he can put us together in community. Let’s try to make Paul’s (the author of Ephesians) prayer come true.
First: pray. Seek God. Let the Spirit strengthen you with his glory. Let Christ dwell in your hearts through faith. In other words, do WHATEVER you have to do to stay connected to the presence of God. Then ask for the power to do the second step.
Second: Grasp how big God’s love is. God is outside of space and time. Spend a second imagining what that would even mean. He sees all things at all times at once. But this God that is so far beyond, behind, above, and below us invented love. All pure love you experience (sacrificial commitment to another person) was a gift from him. The love of husband and wife. The love that makes me love my daughters enough to memorize Frozen quotes. The love we have for our neighbors, or the hurting, or our best friend, is a gift from God. John says God IS love. So we should spend our lives contemplating this love.
Third: And he created us to share in that love. We are called to spend our lives grasping and experiencing the love the Trinity has shared within itself since before there was time. That is what it means to filled with the fullness of God.
Fourth: Scripture goes on to teach us that perfect love pushes out everything else. It casts out fear (1 John 4:18). It casts out sin. It casts out our broken inclination to care only about ourselves—the temptation that has caused untold destruction in our personal relationships, marriages, and even in global and national issues. So let this love—let this fullness of God that is beyond knowledge—guide you into a life that beyond anything you could ask think or imagine.
Let true love thaw your frozen heart. (One more Frozen quote, sorry)