I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)

What motivates people to get up in the morning and begin another day of life? Certainly the desire for more money and more material things drives people to action, and the thirst for power also prompts men and women to aspire to ever higher levels of authority in their workplace. Undoubtedly, there are a variety of motives that cause the human race to pursue their activities for another day! But the greatest motivator in all the universe is love!

In the movie, Fireproof, there is a scene in which a house is fully engulfed in flames, and it is first believed that nobody is in the house. But then the father discovers that his young daughter is in the home, and the firemen need to physically restrain him, because he is desperately trying to get back into the house to save his daughter. No amount of money would compel someone to enter that house, and yet love so strongly compelled this father that he needed to be tackled to the ground to prevent him from going in.

The same is true, only to a far greater degree, with God’s love. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian Christians and for us is that we might know the width and depth and length and height of God’s love – which we experience in a million ways every day – but of which the clearest expression is Jesus Christ on the cross! Such love and only such love has the power to transform lives.

The hymn writer, Horatius Bonar, understood this truth and wrote these words, “Terror accomplishes no real obedience. Suspense brings forth no fruit unto holiness. No gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favor can subdue one lust, or correct our crookedness of will. But the free pardon of the cross uproots sin, and withers all its branches. Only the certainty of love, forgiving love, can do this.”

O love of God, how strong and true,
eternal and yet ever new,
uncomprehended and unbought,
beyond all knowledge and all thought!