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Live with “strong roots in love”

January 13, 2024

Daily Scripture

Ephesians 3:16-19, 1 John 4:13-16

Ephesians 3
16 I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. 17 I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, 18 I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. 19 I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.

1 John 4
13 This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. 15 If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. 16 We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Too often, non-religious and nominally religious people’s experiences lead them to see “righteous” people as not very pleasant to be around, to think being a Christian makes a person judgmental and unloving. That was not the apostle John’s view, as he said in today’s reading! Similarly, in the apostle Paul’s letter to Christians at Ephesus, he asked lyrically that the Holy Spirit, dwelling in their hearts, would give all believers “the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth.” And he emphasized that we grasp the vastness of God’s love best “together with all believers.” Inspired by both apostles, Methodism’s founder John Wesley closed a sermon at the laying of the foundation of a new chapel in London with these words: “Let us provoke all men, not to enmity and contention, but to love and to good works; always remembering those deep words, (God engrave them on all our hearts!) ‘God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him!’” *

  • Even the earliest Christians found it hard not to condemn others who did some things differently. That’s why the apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Rome, “Love is what fulfills the Law” (Romans 13:10). If their disputes about proper food practices or days for worship (cf. Romans 14:2-6) tore down love, they were in fact breaking God’s deepest law. Scholar N. T. Wright wrote, “The old world, the ‘present age’, is rumbling on. Most people are ordering their lives in accordance with its style and habits. But…. God’s new age has begun…. Those who follow Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection inaugurated that new age, are commanded to live now according to the rules of the new world…. For a Christian, anger and bitterness are just as much forbidden as drunkenness and off-limits sexual activity, though you wouldn’t think so from many churches.” ** How can you stand for truths that matter to you without acting unlovingly toward those who disagree?

God of love, you know that “hurt people hurt people.” I’m sad when others hurt me, but I’m also sad when I hurt others. Let your love heal my hurting self and transform me from the inside out. Amen.

GPS Insights

Wyatt Davidson

Wyatt Davidson

Wyatt Davidson is a 17-year-old Junior at Blue Valley High School. At Resurrection Wyatt leads a 7th-grade small group, plays in the band, and goes on serve trips every summer. Outside of church, Wyatt is a pitcher and a catcher playing baseball for Mac n’ Seitz and his high school. Wyatt loves to spend time with his family, friends, girlfriend, and small group.

The first thing I think of when I think about strong roots in love is a tree. A tree is large and impressive but without the roots, it would not stand. For humans love is similar. When I think of love as a tree I think about the trunk first. The trunk is what everyone sees, it is the love that others have poured into us and has shaped us into who we are. Every time someone loves us it adds a new ring to our trunk, it allows us to grow bigger and stronger as Christians which allows us to share our faith and love more effectively.

The next part of a tree is the branches. The branches are where we show love to others. The bigger our trunk is the more branches we can have, and the more branches we have the more people we can share our love and faith with. These branches take longer to develop and need support from the trunk, but they allow us to support others, accept others, and grow others’ trunks.

These are the parts of the tree that we see but none of it can stand without the roots. No matter how big and strong a tree looks, it cannot survive without strong roots. The roots of love to me are how we receive God’s love and care for us and reciprocate it. Without God’s love we have no base to build from, and to fully appreciate God we need to show him that we love him and that we are willing to be his hands and feet. Every time we do good in the name of God our roots strengthen and allow us to love others better.

1 John 4:13-15 says when we trust in God and believe in him, God grows within us and concurrently we grow with God. Without God we cannot grow–our roots stay the same so we cannot grow anymore. We become stationary and no longer expand our faith or improve as people. In Ephesians 3:16-19 Paul prays to God that we may fully know and appreciate the power, love, and vastness of God’s love. In human nature we struggle to accept help from others. We want to be self-sufficient and it gives us a sense of pride to succeed, but without others, there is no lasting joy in accomplishing tasks. I have experienced this through my small group as we’ve served communities together and helped change many lives. This is similar to the love of God as well. If we do not root ourselves in his love for us and us for him we cannot find lasting joy. When we only think of our personal wants and needs joy is temporary and we will forever keep chasing it, but if we root our love, joy, and accomplishments in God it will be long lasting and meaningful joy.

I’m not a person who is qualified to be saying we always need to root ourselves and our choices in God. I fall down so often–pretty much every day, I miss the mark and make mistakes. But God forgives us, he loves us still, and as long as we strive to be the best version of ourselves every day, we will figure it out as we go, and we will figure it out together. I’ve learned that as Christians, we root ourselves in love like aspens. We thrive when we grow together, and the more united we are the more influence we have to change the world for the better.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.