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Keeping the Right Priorities Takes Divine Power


We’ve established what our top priorities should be based on what Jesus pointed to as the Greatest Commandments (Matt. 22:35-40). — Love God with all of who you are and love people as you love yourself.

We’ve considered the kind of perspective we need to be in a position to at least want to keep these priorities. Good intentions, however, don’t always translate into action. The Apostle Paul knew that self-determination and self-effort wouldn’t get us there which is why He prayed the following for the church at Ephesus.

Love of ChristAnd 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. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:17-21)

Let’s break these verses down.

1) Those Paul is praying for to grasp His love are already “rooted and established in love.”

The groundwork has already been laid for us to truly love God and people. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jn. 4:19) Remember that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)

2) This kind of love is so outside of our human existence that we need to “have power” to grasp it and be filled with it.

Loving as He loves does not come naturally to us humans. We tend to be quite self-centered, not wanting to give up what we perceive to be our rights for others albeit our very lives. We tend to make our affections conditioned on any variety of criteria whereas Christ died because of love, not because we merited it. We need divine power to grasp this kind of love and to be filled with it.

3) The “Lord’s holy people” are to be identified by love because God is love.

Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:35). We are in this together as His people which is why we should pray for one another similarly to what Paul prayed for the Ephesians.

4) We need divine power so we not only know His love cognitively but also experientially which is what it means “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.

The word “grasp” in these verses means we take hold of it, not just know it. To “know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 Jn. 4:16) is to take what we have learned about His love and believe it so much that it affects us.

5) The objective of having power to grasp His love is so we become more and more like Him, “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

God is love. The more we love as He loves, the more we will be a light to the world around us, showcasing Him so they too will come to know Him.

6) We might struggle to keep these priorities, but we should never give up hope of loving this way for He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

With God, nothing is impossible. As we constantly yield ourselves to the Spirit’s work in our lives, He will build in us the fruit of the Spirit of which love is first on the list (Gal. 5:22-23). “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3) So, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6)

7) When we do live according to His priorities to love Him and others, we can then only say “to him be glory” because it was by His power that we are able to love.

We should not pat ourselves on the back when we get it right because He laid the groundwork for us to love having rooted and established us in love. We can only love because He first loved us. And, without His power we would never be able to love as He loves because it is something supernatural.


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