Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How can we give what we don't (know we) have?

Apostle Paul: "I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Eph 3:14-19)

Apostle John: "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:9-11)

Artist Tony Vincent: "I can't make You love me more; No matter how I try; Your grace alone can justify; That kind of love just mystifies... I can't make You love me more; Can't impress You with my deeds; I can't make You love me less; That kind of love is what I need." (Song: Out of My Hands).
In the process of going through some of my notes-to-self from June, I saw that I had referred myself to a Growing in Grace program, "Rooted and Grounded in Love," in which my friend and cohost Mike Kapler had said the following:
"If I haven't received an abundance of finances... I can't give a lot of money. If I haven't understood, or received, the love that God has for me - His unconditional love - how can I love others unconditionally, if I haven't yet understood what it's like to be loved unconditionally?"
The truth is, we do have the love of God, and we are in the unconditional love and grace of God! It's true, whether we comprehend it or acknowledge it or realize it or not! But... if we don't know it - if we're not rooted and grounded and established in it, and if we don't really know and understand how much God loves us - the width, the length, the depth, the height - of God's love... if we don't know that ourselves, then how can we give it?

If we don't truly know God's love, then Paul's prayer is a good one to pray for ourselves and for others. Forget trying to conform to a certain lifestyle or Christlikeness. How's that even possible if you don't know His love? God, let us know the width, the length, the depth, the height of your love!


  1. I was toying with the title "Where The Rubber meets the Road" this morning for a post; we need to know that we know that we know who we are because of what He did. It has alot to do with -tion words: propitiation, justification, imputation(?), impartation, reconciliation, qualification, sanctification, but can be summed up in 8 letters- the Cross, which spells Love, doesn't it? :)

  2. Joel,

    I was thinking the same thing yesterday. I kind of shared something similar to what you said here on Aida's post on worship.

    In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

    It is our reception of His love what enables us to love others, it's not the other way around.

    Great words!

  3. Hey Joel, on another note, I think the same applies to freedom, and it reminds me of what I just wrote, if you care to check it out:


    Another good one here! Thanks! May we ALL become completely aware of Love, in each of us!!

  4. Joel--I think that's the problem that so many Christian leaders have in teaching about living a grace-filled life. By the time you've become a pastor or some sort of church leader, you are completely saturated with a works-based Christianity.

    It's hard to break free from that mindset, especially when it's tied to your position, your job, your finances, and your place in the body of Christ. It's really hard, once you're in a leadership position, to step back and let God teach you what it means to live as God's beloved child...

  5. RJW,

    Yep indeed it all comes down to the cross, which indeed spells Love. All of those "-tions" are a part of the whole thing. Even imputation, which you put a question mark after. God imputed righteousness to us. Paul says that the work of the Law was the imputation of sin (through it, sin was imputed to us). But through the death and resurrection of Jesus, righteousness was imputed to us. All out of God's love!


    I hadn't seen your comments about love on Aida's blog, but indeed it's right along the line of what I'm saying here. I know one thing that I've noticed in my own life is that my parents were very loving parents (although not perfect of course). Much of what I knew about love when I began walking with Christ, I had understood from knowing the love of my parents. I noticed that a lot of the ways I was treating others, was the way I had been treated by my parents. If I had not known the ways that they had expressed love to me, I wouldn't have expressed the same love to others.

    In exactly the same way, as you're saying here and as I was pointing out, if we don't know God's love, we're not going to be able to show it to others. But the more we understand His love, and "receive" it and grow in it, the more we'll be able to express the same love to others.

    Free Spirit,

    Amen... indeed this applies to freedom and to all the blessings and life and... everything... that we have in Christ! I skimmed over your post the other day, and I liked it, but I haven't been able to comment on it. I'll take more time tomorrow, when I have the day off, to read it all.


    Yes, you've hit on some solid truth here. Having worked in Christian radio for 11 1/2 years, I saw a lot of this, and of course I've seen it in churches. The "ministry" of the radio station wasn't possible without the financial support of listeners. I always hated Sharathons, for many reasons, but one of the reasons was because the 'pleas' for money (asking listeners for money) were generally very works-based. "If you give your financial support, God will bless you... blah blah blah."

    Since the job security of the management was dependent upon getting people to give, it became so blatantly works-based. Anyway, all that to say that it's true what you said. The Christian life is about living as God's beloved child, but so many people don't know that because so much church 'ministry' has become dependent upon everything but the love of God. And the circle just keeps continuing, with people never really coming to know God's love.

    So my thoughts on all this... let's all keep on growing in God's love for us, and sharing the love of God with each other and with others, and hopefully together we'll see more and more people come to know this wonderful love!

  6. Joel,
    Imputation just sounded so strange, I wasn't sure that was the correct form of the word. :)
    Thanks for your feedback.

  7. RJW,

    Ah yes, I figured you knew what "imputed" was, but since you put the question mark behind "imputation" I wasn't sure so I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk briefly about what the Bible says about sin and guilt being imputed to mankind, and then righteousness being imputed through the life of Jesus!

    BTW, I myself had to look in the dictionary to see if "imputation" was a proper word. :) I'm so used to only using the word "impute."