How wide and how long and how high and how deep

God loves us! God loves you. And God loves me. God loves us.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, 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 fulness of God.

God wants us to do more than know about his love. God wants us to do more than grasp his love. He wants us to KNOW his love, to know it in our own experience, to know his love in practice as well as in theory, to know his love as we know God Himself in a living relationship with God our Father and our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. To be filled with God’s love to the measure of the fullness of God.

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.” Ephesians 3:19a NLT
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

How WIDE is God’s love?

God loves everyone. The width of God’s love may be the most obvious thing that distinguishes His love from human love. We love certain people but not others. We love certain types of people, but not others. God loves everyone equally.
Read: John 3:16-17 NIV
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God does not reserve His love for a specific class of people. Race, gender, and social status all lose their place when it comes to one’s standing before God. God loves all kinds of men and all kinds of women equally.

Galatians 3: 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. God’s love is wide enough to embrace everybody – even miserable sinners like you and me.
We may feel that we are unworthy of God’s love. Absolutely right! We are totally undeserving of the love God has for us. But he still loves us. Some people find it hard to believe that God loves them. They think they have gone too far away from God. His love could never stretch far enough to reach them. They are mistaken. God’s love is wide enough to reach everybody!

How LONG is God’s Love?
What is the length of His love? From eternity to eternity. Neither the present nor the future can separate me from God’s love. I do not have to worry about it running out. The Bible tells us that God IS love. Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever. God doesn’t change. His love for us doesn’t change. Maybe today God loves me, but what about tomorrow? Some people say, ‘I believe God used to love me, but what about now?’ We don’t have to worry about God’s love running out.

Through Jeremiah the prophet God tells us
“I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

God’s love is everlasting. God’s love endures forever. God wants you to experience that love with Him forever. That is length of God’s love. God’s love is forever and for always. It isn’t just available on Sundays. There are no “regular business hours” for God’s love. God’s love is never “out to lunch”. The love of God doesn’t take holidays.
And God’s love doesn’t give up. Ours does! Our love runs out but God isn’t like that. God’s love lasts even longer than the Energizer bunny – it just keeps on going and going and going! God doesn’t give up on us
“I will never, ever, ever leave you or forsake you.”In times of trial, we may think we are “clinging on to God. The truth is it really is the other way around. It is God who clings on to us with a love which never lets us go.
Some Christians worry because they think God has stopped loving them. But they are mistaken – God ‘s love is a love which never lets us go. God’s love goes on forever.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10 :27-30)
(1) We have a new relationship with God
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Christianity is not just a philosophy or a set of beliefs or a way of living. It is a relationship with God our creator, who by Christ’s death in our place has changed us from God’s enemies into His friends. More than that, we are adopted into God’s family as His children, sons and daughters, so we can know God as “Abba, Father” (John 1:12-13, Romans 8:14-17). So God views Christians in a new way, no longer as rebels but as beloved children. We are no longer “lost sheep” – instead we belong to Christ’s flock. This new relationship is not based on our good works but on the merits of Jesus Christ alone. Nothing we can do will cause God to take that new status as His children away from us again. Our loving heavenly Father would never turn away or reject or disinherit one of His own children (John 6:35-40).
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me,

(2) We are born again to a new life
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
A Christian is someone who has been born again, and given a brand new life to live. We can never become “unborn again”. Our eternal life can never die.

(3) God can and will keep us safe
no-one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Our eternal salvation ultimately rests in God’s hands, not ours. We can do nothing to earn God’s free gift of forgiveness and new life. And we can do nothing to deserve to keep that gift. Christ’s death has dealt with ALL our sins, those before AND those after we accept His gift of new life. We do not have to work hard to “keep our place” in God’s family – that place is guaranteed by God Himself. He is greater than everything. He CAN and WILL keep us safe and He will never reject us (Romans 8:28-39).
Many Christians go through times of discouragement and even doubt when they might say “But I don’t FEEL as though God loves me.” It is vital that we recognise that what SEEMS to be true is not always the same as what IS true. We cannot trust our feelings in spiritual matters – they are too closely linked to our old sinful human nature. Instead we trust in God Himself, and His promises in His Word. We must learn to live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). There are a number of things which can get in the way of our relationship with God and so cause us to doubt our own salvation.
Physical problems can have spiritual effects. Tiredness, hunger, illness and stress can alter our view of the world. Sleep, food, and sometimes a visit to the doctor can put our body right.
Emotional upsets can shake our faith. Grief, anxiety, fear, disappointment, and pressures from work, family, important decisions and even of church life, can all affect us spiritually. Suffering and tragedy in the lives of those close to us can also bring us to doubt the power and love of God. Our view on life is not always the same as God’s. We need to see our spiritual situation from the eternal perspective of God and His promises, and not let ourselves be weighed down by circumstances.
Sometimes it seems as though God is blessing everybody but you, or He is working through everybody else but never through you. This does not mean that God doesn’t love you any more! He doesn’t love us depending on how much we do for Him. We could never earn or deserve His steadfast love. We simply accept His gift with gratitude!
Sometimes our faith is shaken when, even as established Christians, we fall into sin. We are overcome with guilt, and feel that God could never forgive us if we have rejected His love so badly. It may be our pride that is most hurt – we have failed to live up to the standards we demand of ourselves. But however much we may be surprised at our own sinfulness, God isn’t. Jesus died for those sins too! We are already forgiven. As Christians we do not forfeit our eternal life when we sin (however deliberately or seriously) or else none of us would ever stay saved for very long! We can always come back to God in confession (1 John 1:8-9) perhaps to another Christian (James 5:16). As Michel Quoist says, “It’s not the falling that hurts, but the staying on the floor!”
How long is God’s love? It never ends! God will NEVER stop loving us. Whatever we do. Whatever happens to us. Even if we FEEL God doesn’t love us any more – God never stops loving us. God’s love goes on forever!

Tell my people I love them, tell my people I care
When they feel far away from me, tell my people I’m there.

How HIGH is God’s love?

“Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens…” Psalm 36:5 NIV

Earlier in Ephesians we can see how high God’s love stretches in God’s having “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (1:3) and in His raising us up and seating us “with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (2:6).”
God’s love is limitless. We are lifted up to heavenly places. We are no longer lowly earth dwellers, but we are citizens of heaven. This is only made possible by the great love of God. In God, we can experience the richest, the highest, the purest, the finest love imaginable. And not only that, but it’s free. Anybody who wants it can have all they want.

Most of us have probably had moments when we have realised just how much God loves us – the “mountaintop experiences.” We glimpsed the heights of God’s love. CSLewis gave a wonderful picture of heaven as ranges of mountains getting higher and higher nearer and nearer to God, with all the saints in glory moving on to the cry “Onward and upward, onward and upward”.
However little or however much we have already experienced of God’s love – there are always more heights to press on to! We mustn’t rest on our laurels, but press on to know more of God’s love. “Onward and upward.”
But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength! ( Eph 1: 17-19 Message)

How DEEP is God’s love?

Perhaps depth refers to God’s love being with us through even the most difficult of situations. That definitely is true. He said He would never leave us nor forsake us.

Romans 8:35-39 NIV 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… … 37 in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NOTHING …will be able to separate us from the love of God…”

Perhaps depth refers to God’s love reaching to the most desperate of sinners . Paul said he was the chief of sinners.
God’s love reaches to the deepest parts of our being. Some of us are more open than others. Some of us reveal ourselves more freely than others. But all of us have locked closets and dark corners where we don’t even like to peek ourselves, let alone have anybody else take a look. They are the places we have shut off from the light of day, the light of the love of even those who are closest to us.
Mostly we do it because we’re afraid that if someone sees those deep down ugly parts of us, they won’t love us anymore, and we just can’t risk that. But God’s love is deeper than our deepest secrets. It can penetrate the darkness of our worst fears. It can clean out the closets of sin, of despair, of self-hatred.
Psa 103:8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;Somebody has said. “Christianity made people who were things into real men and women, more, into sons and daughters of God; it gave those who had no respect, their self-respect; it gave those who had no life, life eternal; it told men that, even if they did not matter to other men, they still mattered intensely to God. It told men who, in the eyes of the world were worthless, that, in the eyes of God they were worth the death of his only Son. Christianity was, and still is, the most uplifting thing in the whole universe.”
Or then many people have deep deep hurts, things which have happened to us in the past which still leave echoes in the present, things which can lead to sadness or pain or depression or fears even if we think have forgotten them.
Back in 2008 I had a period of Sabbatical Study and had the privilege of spending two weeks visiting churches in Canada. One big difference I noticed between Christians in England and our brothers and sisters in Canada and USA is that there they are much more concerned about “the whole person”. Our faith often only touches our brains and our minds. USA and Canada think and talk much more about feelings and emotions too. All Americans and Canadians are much more into therapy and counselling and emotional healing and wholeness, and so are the Christians. And I think they may have a pointt. God cares about how we feel just as much as about what we think. God wants to bring cleansing and healing and freedom and wholeness to the deepest parts of our body, mind and spirit. However deeply we may be hurting, God’s love is deep enough to reach!
A Christian friend of ours had a terrible time when her husband abandoned her with two young children. She wrote a book about her experiences and called it, “No pit too deep”. It is true that there is no pit too deep God’s love. Whatever the depths we are trapped in – God’s love will rescue us!
How wide and how long and how high and how deep!
A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.
And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. (Message)

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