16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 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, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I was at my small group tonight and we were reading through this passage and one of the girls asked this question, “We see how greatly God is able to love and do more than we are able to comprehend. So how much more should we love like that in our church and what’s stopping us from doing that?”
The room got silent. That’s quite the question. As we started brainstorming and talking, we stopped at this thought: “Why is it that as Christ’s body of believers, we are assumed to be the first to pour judgment?” Well, I’ll be the first to say it, we do. We have this notion in our heads that church is this place where everyone has their act together. We are dressed in Sunday best. We put our best act on. We make it seem like we have everything together. Now, we all know that’s not true; it’s far from it. So why is it that the people who need God and are searching for him MOST are the last ones to be loved? Really take the time to think about that. What is truly stopping us from loving like Christ did and still does?
A girl brought up a point in where she explained this hypothetical situation where someone covered in tattoos and piercings walks in and sits next to you during service. For most people, they would feel uncomfortable. But why? That’s what I couldn’t wrap my head around. It all goes back to that notion. Why does it matter who is sitting next to you and what they look like? We attend church to MEET with God. Not to sing. Not to socialize. Not to see if we’ll get something out of the message. Meet with God. It’s that simple. (Now, that’s probably what the person next to you is doing too.)
Christ loves the church. We, as believers, are the church. Now, what’s stopping us from loving the church? Difficult question, I know. Outward appearance has nothing to do with it. The hearts of his people is what God is after. He is actively pursuing every single person’s heart. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” I encourage you to truly love this week. See how it changes your daily life. God’s love is so vast (v. 18,19) What’s stopping you from loving others the way that God loves you every moment?
Devotional Author: Nicole Presley