. . . firmly fixed in love (Ephesians 3:17)
Ah, love! You were overwhelmed with the cares of the world, but now, the feeling is beginning to return. It has been difficult, but once again, you sense something. You have become reassured with Jesus’ promise to be with you. You finally realize that you are loved and that He cares for you, and joyfully, that relationship will never change.
With this renewed revelation, your identity returns. In other words, as Paul wrote, you are “firmly fixed in love.” Other translations render that: “firmly rooted and grounded in faith.” Interesting. Plants are rooted, and buildings are grounded.
The amazing thing is to see how Paul ties them together as figures of strength and security. Once the roots become stable, a plant can withstand any storm. It can withstand a storm. Then, a building must be firmly affixed to a foundation; otherwise, high winds will cause the building to shake. Imagine being in a “High Rise” that is not affixed to its foundation.
Paul is simply explaining our experiences must be established. We can’t handle life unless our foundations are rooted and grounded. But, in what? In love! In the assurance that our Creator loves us, and has accepted us; that we are precious to him. Once we our faith is established in this fact, we understand who we are. Love always gives us that. That is why living as a Lone Ranger is so difficult. There is no sense of well-being. If you dismiss and ignore your connection to (and need for) other believers, you have difficulties with your faith.
Your damned independence and refusal to commit to a church, a fellowship of believers, is the greatest cause of falling away from your faith. If you fail to connect to a local body of believers, you will never feel loved. No one reaches out to you when you are in need. Ah, but a Christian can find their ground of solidarity and security and love in a body of believers. When you reach that stage, you are ready for the next — the fourth step:
. . . may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18)
Oh, man. We are now climbing back to power and vitality. This sense of identity has given us the power to relate to others: “able to grasp with all Christians.” We can now begin to relate to somebody else, to reach out to someone else. And when we do, we are starting to lay hold of the breadth and length and height and depth of our Savior’s love. We are not to live in isolation but rather to relate to one another, to “grasp with all Christians,” and not to try to work to solve all of our problems on our own. Many believers try to live in solitary confinement. They resist relating, resist sharing. But you see, that is falling into the trap that the world lives. The world talks about privacy, longs for privacy, struggles to have areas of life that no one sees. But the price is loneliness. You can’t have privacy without having loneliness. And if loneliness is your trouble, it is because you have insisted on being alone, independent. Belonging and being involved in a church cuts right across all that independence.
Being involved with a body of believers undermines this whole philosophy because you are no longer on your own. You are to relate; you are to share; you are to be open and vulnerable. We are to “widen our hearts” as Paul instructed the Corinthians (II Corinthians 6:13).
“Reach out to each other. Bear each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)
“Confess your weaknesses to each other” (James 5:16)
No believer is to have any private areas in his life. If he insists on it, he is defying what God has called him to. Sharing with a body of believers in openness and freedom for all to see is exactly what you are called to become. When you begin to relate to and share with other believers, as Paul explains, you begin to lay hold of, the height and depth and length and breadth of our Savior’s love.
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.