Does Doing Life Together Include Knowing God’s Love?
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, 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. Eph 3:14-19 (ESV)
What does it mean to comprehend God’s love with all the saints? What is so significant about growing in our understanding God’s love with others and not just on our own?
Let me share two experiences I had this week where I experienced God’s love in a special way with some of his saints.
Earlier this week in Restarting Class I had shared that the night before I was craving for something when I got home late after working on a rental. How about a bowl of ice cream? How about a beer? Then I realized that these were symptoms of some unmet need in my soul. [I am not saying it is wrong to eat ice cream or have a beer, but it is wrong to try to use them to fill an emptiness in my soul.]
At the end of our Restarting Class, when we broke into groups of three, someone shared that they could relate to me, as they had experienced cravings earlier that day. So we did Immanuel Prayer together, asking God to show them what he wanted them to know about that. God spoke to them in a powerful way; they had a wonderful encounter with God. But they had this encounter in a group.
The next day, Sharon and I were on our call with Maritza, our life coach. I shared with her how I was becoming increasingly aware of my cravings, including a craving for affirmation, and I asked her if we could explore that. She suggested that we do Immanuel Prayer together and I would ask God to show me what I needed. We had an awesome time with God. I experienced his great love for me, his affirmation for me, and a great infilling in my soul. Through that experience, God gave me a picture statement for my life and ministry. It was awesome!
Both of these times involved God showing his love to us, and we did it in a group. The context of both of these sessions was coming to God in our areas of pain and need, realizing that we craved other things besides God, we realized this was wrong, and we shared this with someone else in our community.
We then did Immanuel Prayer, asked God to show us what was going on and what he wanted us to know. In the process, God revealed how he loved us. Specifically, God gave us what we needed to fill the emptiness in our soul. And He did that in a community setting.
First, we needed to humble ourselves to share with others what our problem was. Then God used another person to lead us in the Immanuel process to be able to hear what God had to say about that area. A third person was taking notes, so that we could review the notes later and recall the experience with more detail. These other two people were also able to bear witness to what God had spoken to us about, and are accompanying us on our journey as supportive companions.
It is a good thing to think about how much God loves us, meditate on scriptures that promise this and thank him and worship him for his great love. These ways of comprehending his love are typically done on our own.
But Paul’s prayer definitely tells us that there is also a place for coming to know his very personal and intimate love for us in the context of community as well. May he reveal how he wants us to walk that out in our lives!