November 15th // Jon Royal

Posted on by SpokaneYFC

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And 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." Ephesians 3:16-19


God's Heart in You

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And 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."
Ephesians 3:16-19


God's Heart in You

One of the images of faith that is most powerful to me is the reality that Christ dwells in the hearts of believers. The reason this image is so wild to me is because when I think of Christ, and the fullness of God the Father, my mind is filled with expansive pictures of power and wonder: vast mountains, deep oceans, an immense universe, all held in God's hands. How is it that our cosmic, mighty, and immeasurable God could possibly dwell in my mortal heart?
 
That is like all the power and light of a supernova contained within a cheap plastic flashlight. How is this even possible? Yet, this is Paul's prayer in Ephesians, that "Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."

I am further astounded when I consider my own heart: limited, often selfish, discriminatory, and weak. I love people sometimes. But I also often withhold love. Maybe I hold back because I am tired of loving. Or I hold back because I don't want to love someone. Maybe they don't deserve it. Maybe I don't like that person. 

My vision of love is rather small. I like to love the people I like. I like to love the people who are like me. I like to love the people who love me back.

But this is not so with God's heart. God's heart is unlimited, always reaching out, welcoming and strong. He loves us without reservation. He loves everyone. He loves fiercely.

So how is it that God and his mighty heart could possibly dwell inside my weak and fearful heart?

I think the answer is rather simple: God grows our hearts.

He enters in, and gently he begins to push out, growing our hearts to resemble his. The wondrous expanse of God's compassion moves into our hearts and begins its work, slowly expanding our love for our neighbors.

What a gift this is! But here is the thing about God expanding our hearts: it usually hurts.

There is pain that comes along with a growing heart. We shouldn't be surprised by this. It's why I think Paul prays that God would "…strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts…" 

Paul knows that if Christ is going to move into our small hearts, we are going to need some strength to endure that miracle. We are going to need strength to have our hearts opened, to be willing to let God show us the way he loves and the way he invites us into that love.

Who do I withhold love from? People I disagree with…people who have disappointed me…people I don't know…people I am afraid of… 

But I hear God's voice so clearly saying "I love them" and my heart breaks and hurts as God makes room in my heart and says "I want you to love them too." Take the risk. Let go of your pride. Forgive. Don't be afraid. Stop judging. Make an effort.

It is not a matter of mustering up love. It is letting the love of Christ, who lives in you, do its work.

And this is part of the challenge of following Jesus: "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."

When we let God's love grow our hearts, he makes us more like him, and he calls us to love.

Right now, how is God growing your heart? Where is he pushing your boundaries to call you deeper into his love?

 

JONATHAN ROYAL

City Life Director / West Central
[email protected]

READ MORE ABOUT JONATHAN AND HIS WORK AT YFC HERE.

 

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