For years I would write, “Smile! God loves you!” on the back of every envelope I would mail out, in the hopes that it would encourage not only the person the letter was sent to, but also anyone who might handle it from here to there. After a while, it got to where I wrote it so much, it sort of lost its luster to me. I would write it without even giving it much thought. So I began to reflect on the love of God and what it meant to me.
Paul wrote that our comprehending the fullness of God’s love was the reason for his prayers. He wanted us to take a closer look at God’s love for us, not just a passing glance as we read it on the back of an envelope. He wanted us to know the breadth, length, depth, and height of God’s love.
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ephesians 3:14)
“Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” (Ephesians 3:15)
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;” (Ephesians 3:16)
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” (Ephesians 3:17)
“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;” (Ephesians 3:18)
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)
The breadth of His love refers to its world-wide embrace.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
There is no-one that God doesn’t love. From the most pious priest to the poorest prostitute, God loves us all. When He came and walked among us, through Christ, the religious elite were astonished that He chose to associate with known sinners, the sick, and the destitute. In response, Jesus once said, “…They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Matthew 9:12).
As Christians, we are told to hate evil (Psalms 97:10); and in our flesh we cannot seem to separate the sin from the sinner. We forget that:
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” (Ephesians 2:2)
“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Ephesians 2:3)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4)
“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:5)
If God loved us enough to die for us when we were His enemies; how much more He loves us now that we are His Children. Some people are filled with self-condemnation, believing that God can’t or doesn’t love them. Sadly, many well-meaning Christians have reaffirmed this belief, by refusing to love as God loves. But the breadth of God’s love, the reach of His embrace, is world-wide.
The length of God’s love refers to its existence through all the ages. Some may believe that God starts to love them once they do as He says. So they put off coming to Him until they “get their lives right.” Some may even believe that God will stop loving them if they slip up or fall into sin. But God’s love for us is not bound by time; it has no beginning or end. The Bible says that Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world to give His life for us! (See 1 Peter 1:18-20.) Before we were ever born, before there were even any people, God loved us. God’s love for you is forever. Unlike so many others, He will never leave you or forsake you.
The depth of God’s love refers to its condescension.
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” (Philippians 2:6)
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” (Philippians 2:7)
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
I have known many to tell me they loved me, only to have them leave me at the first sign of trouble. God’s love for me was so deep that He brought Himself out of heaven, took my place, suffered and died; so that I wouldn’t have to. The wages of sin is death; and God went into the depths of the grave, into the pits of hell, so that we could live.
The height of God’s love refers to its victory over sin, opening the way to heaven. It allows us to be more than conquerors in this life, soaring to new heights in Christ.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35)
“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Romans 8:36)
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,” (Romans 8:38)
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
Even after writing this devotion, I still haven’t begun to scratch the surface of God’s love. God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting. It cannot be contained.
A hymn titled, “The Love of God” states it nicely:
“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.” (Author unknown)