14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 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, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-21, New International Version
The Apostle Paul’s prayer is that we can experience the breadth and depth of God’s love through loving relationships in the family of God. The more we grow in our relationship with God, the more we are to reflect the nature and character of His love to those around us.
Doing life together builds community.
If we understand Paul’s prayer, it is not about building a perfect community, but a real community where our shared lives change us in ways that we cannot do individually. The foundation for all authentic relationships starts with our relationship with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. When we pattern our relationships after the Trinity, we are free to love and serve without fear or reservation.
Many believers have no idea how to do life with others.
In fact, most are afraid of opening themselves up to another person for fear of criticism or rejection. Relationships are messy but they are still worth pursuing because we are created for relationship with God and one another. When we avoid relationships, we pay the high price of loneliness.
A life of loneliness is an incomplete one. Even though Jesus was full and complete in every way, He did not do life alone. Jesus gathered around Him an inner circle of friends. His friends were not perfect. They let Him down time and again and one eventually betrayed Him for a small sum of money. Still Jesus forgave them because He loved them.
While we run the risk of being hurt, it is good to rest all our relationships in the perfect fullness of God’s love. Paul understood this and wrote a beautiful passage of love in 1 Corinthians 13. The Corinthians were selfish, unloving, unbelieving and immature. Yet when Paul reached out to them in love, his efforts transformed the Corinthians and changed the way they did life together.
As sons and daughters of God, let us live out our identity in Jesus through building a community so the world knows that we belong to Him by the way we love one another.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.