"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
The last few years, God has given me words repeatedly about where He would be inwardly focusing me for a set period of time. Last year's theme was foundation; very fittingly, at CBS, we studied the Gospel of John in great detail and my small group at church studied some great foundational books on who we are in Christ. As a somewhat new Christian in the grand scheme of my life, I had taken the little that I knew and had built upon it my own extensive, all encompassing works based theology. And I spent my first few years as a believer in condemnation and despair; feeling like I was failing the God and Jesus I had created in my mind. Slowly, meticulously, and lovingly throughout last year (and even into this year), He has replaced the sandy, decaying foundation I had been clinging to with His own, perfect Stone. The words He gave me this year "were to understand the breadth and length and height and depth of His love for me". I had read those words somewhere last year and they just stuck there in me, being repeated over and over and over again in my mind. And truly, was I shocked when I realized that was part of what we were studying this year at CBS in Ephesians. See, at times, I still suffer from honoring my own theology, especially when it is in regards to God's love. I have had a hard time distinguishing between the love of my earthly father and the love of my heavenly Father. And so I have unknowingly and sometimes quite severely limited the love I felt I deserved. And He has been slowly and methodically breaking down that barrier I have established in my heart, little by little. Through our study in Deuteronomy this year, I recently came to the realization that although we have believed and accepted the Lord's Word, we have painted our doorposts with His blood, and His judgement has passed over us, we have somehow neglected to leave Egypt! We have been unknowingly hanging around in Egypt for years now, because Egypt is comfortable, Egypt is what we innately know, and leaving Egypt means walking out into the deep, dark unknown. This was a shocking revelation to me! And yet through prayer last month, He also revealed to me that all this time, while we have stubbornly clung to Egypt and its false gods, He still has not left or forsaken us. We deserve to be cut off…yet He hasn't cut us off. He has been ready and willing to take us out of Egypt for YEARS now, yet he has patiently sat there living alongside us, simply pouring His love and provision and favor out over us and our bondage filled lives. He hasn't just been waiting there though; He has also been perfectly and patiently preparing our journey out of Egypt, knowing we would come to this day of full realization. He stands before us, looking at us not with contempt or condemnation, but with these gentle eyes that pour out the depths and brilliance of His love and mercy and grace into our souls. He is holding out His hands, not to wipe His hands clean of us, but instead ready and willing (STILL) to gently clasp ours, and walk every step out of Egypt with us. This realization has astounded me. Afterall, if I were Jesus, I would have left me in the dust of Egypt a long time ago. I certainly don't deserve His love. I still disobey Him more times then I obey Him. I live by the flesh more times than I live by the Spirit. Sometimes I even let my other gods control my life for periods of time. I am truly a mess and I have proved my unworthiness of His love to the hundredth power. And yet He still loves me. It doesn't make earthly sense. His light continues to shine in those still dark places of my heart, and that darkness has not overcome His pure and perfect light. Truthfully, I still don't completely understand His love, and maybe I never will, but I gotta say, I truly LOVE and appreciate His Love. His love takes the pressure off of me to perfectly perform; His love covers my blatantly obvious imperfectness. In His love, He knows of my imperfections better then I know of them myself! We are ready to leave Egypt now, but I know I will continue to stumble along the path and fall, again and again; simply because that is what I do. And yet the truth of the depth and height and length and width of His love has shown me that He will always pick me back up, dust off my knees, gingerly take my hand back into His, and continue to lead me towards His perfect destination.