Punching Balls & Steam Rollers
What in the world could be the topic of an article with such a weird title? Would you believe “The Love of God”? I know — that was my question and reaction when someone began sharing a prophetic vision she had for me back in the summer of 2009. She saw an image of one of those blow-up punching balls. This punching ball was completely flattened out like it had been run over by a steam roller. She saw the hand of God reach down, and pick up the punching ball and breathe into it until it was fully inflated. She heard the Lord say for me, “You have known my love 2-dimensionally, but I am taking you into a season where you will experience the fullness of all 4 dimensions of my love.” Well, now I don’t know about you, but that sounded like dark chocolate truffle decadence to me! I had no idea how excruciatingly painful, transformative, glorious that season would be.
The love of God — expansive, unfathomable, restorative, unconditional. But is it grasp-able (I made that word up)? Well, according to His Word, it is!
Ephesians 3:16-19 (emphasis added):
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.
I love the Amplified translation of this passage:
May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
I said in my previous article you don’t know Truth until you’ve actually done (applied) Truth. So let’s look at the reality of what is required to grasp such an overwhelming love.
I find it interesting that Jesus links your capacity for love to your level of need for forgiveness.
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Luke 7:47 — [Jesus speaking about the woman who poured the costly perfune on his feet] “…Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Now, obviously this doesn’t mean Jesus is rating or ranking sins either by number or magnitude – sin is sin. No one except Him is exempt from the title of sinner. It has to do with the level of awareness you have of your own depravity.
“The true Christian’s nostril is to be continually attentive to their inner cesspool…” C.S. Lewis
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
So based on where I was in my understanding of His love, receiving the fullness of His love was experiencing it 2-dimensionally. How do you expand from 2 dimensions to all 4 dimensions?
Matthey 10:8(b) — “Freely you have received; freely give.”
Through one of the most excruciating seasons of my life, utilizing a very significant and important relationship in my life, the Lord taught me to freely give love the way He does. So this is what it looks like:
- Expansive (how wide): God is not confused about who He IS and He doesn’t change His identity to be in relationship with anyone — He actually likes who He IS. Because He is so rooted and grounded in His identity, He stretches His arms out wide and freely offers us the choice to reject Him — without attitude, without anger, without ‘talk to the hand’ indifference. Because His identity is love, our rejection doesn’t change His love — it can’t change His love. His love is about who He IS, not about us. He owns His love, is the authority of His love, has full power over His love; His love is not controlled by our actions or choices — it just IS.
- Unfathomable (how long): God has gone to unfathomable lengths to forgive everything — unimaginable, incomprehensible betrayal, indifference, rejection — it’s all forgiven. We are commanded to forgive the same if we are to follow Him. In my season, the Lord told me in advance that I would be betrayed in a way that I couldn’t imagine being able to forgive. I’d been betrayed in this same way before, and I knew the pain. But He told me He wanted me to walk in forgiveness, grace and a willingness to reconcile. My response was, “Yes, I want to. But I can’t right now so You will have to prepare my heart so I’m able to when the time comes.” And — He is faithful — my heart was ready, willing, excited to! Believe me, that’s God and not Tricia. He got my will; I was getting His heart — I hit pay dirt! Of course, I got frustrated from time to time because He didn’t give me the owner’s manual and I had no idea how to operate it! None of my usual self-protective, self-defense mechanisms worked anymore. I felt everything with no way to block it out!
- Restorative (how high): His power to restore all things when we choose Him is breathtaking! His heart yearns for this. He reaches down and lifts us to the height of His fullness — and rejoices over us!
- Unconditional (how deep): The hardest love is His ability to release us to our choices when we don’t choose Him — and this comes from an absolute heart of love. Not controlling, manipulating or requiring someone to be in relationship with you unless they freely want to be in relationship with you is a gift. No one wants to be in a relationship out of obligation, and no one wants someone else to be in a relationship with them out of obligation. That’s not freedom; that’s victimhood. Unconditional love is free. It offers freedom. It doesn’t take, require, obligate, expect. It allows choice without any threat of love being removed because of those choices. Otherwise, it would be conditional.
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