Love. Four letters that I am sure more creative people have acronymized into some phrase that brings responses of, “awwwww.”
“L” is for longlasting.
“O” is for odd.
“V” is for I’m not good at this…
What is love? We say “I love…” for so many things in this world. I love my wife! I love skittles! I love soccer… this weather… macaroni and cheese… peace… people… you! In English, the meaning loses value with how much we use it for a variety of things. In context, we have an idea of what it means. When I say, “I love Skittles!” everyone understands that I am candidate for diabetes and I will be putting my dentist’s children through med school. In context, we get that. But, when I say something as simple as, “I love my wife!” there are as many opinions as people about what it means for a husband to love his wife.
Biblically, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Great!!! Sounds like a plan… now what? What does it mean to love like Christ? How do you love like Christ? What is the love that Christ Jesus has for you and me? Well, the answer is beyond me. Literally.
Let me explain what I mean. If you were to tell me in order to love my wife I need to tell her that I love her morning, noon and night. Great! I can do that. Check, check and check plus a bonus one here and there. Easy peasy even cheesey!
Now, if you were to tell me that to love my wife, I need to provide for her. Sweet! I can do that. A home, clothes, food… I may have to work extra here and there but I can do that. Combine these two and it is still easy peasy. “I love you.” Work. “I love you.” Work. “I love you.” Sleep. Repeat.
But that wouldn’t do, now would it. That isn’t going to make a solid relationship is it! So now you say that I need to learn her “love language.” Ok. That is a bit harder. Aaaaand speak it. Even harder. I can do it though, after all I took Spanish for three years and sign language for half of a semester. But those were with teachers that knew the language and then taught from there. (And I have forgotten most of it.) What you are telling me now is more like landing on a desolate island and trying to learn and interpret the language from scratch. But, it is doable. More work, more time and more worth it. Easy, not so peasy.
So far, we haven’t even touched what it means to love like Christ. So let’s look at some scripture. Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 has recently caught my attention. I have seen this verse before and even taught on it. My engineering brain jumps on it because it is about volume. Paul is praying that you would, “have the 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…” It is volume.
Volume is a three dimensional concept. First, you start with a dot. There is no dimensions to a dot. It is basically nothing. But take a ton of dots and put them next to each other and you have a line. This is one dimension. Take a ton of lines and put them together and you have a plane. Two dimensions. Flat. Take a bunch of planes and stack them on top of each other and then you have volume. You can actually hold something. My descriptions of loving my wife above isn’t even to this volume part. It wouldn’t stack up. In order to find the volume of something, let’s say a box to make it easy, is to take the dimensions of the sides and multiply them together. Length X Width X Height. Just with these alone, looking at the love of Christ, we would have to take each measurement as infinity.
Infinity X Infinity X Infinity = INFINITY.
Just one dimension of Christ’s love for us would be enough. And it is enough. “For God so loved the world…” That right there is enough for us. After all, we only really talk about love in one dimension, depth. His love is so deep for her. But this isn’t enough for Jesus. He loves us more than one dimension. He loves us more that two dimensions. He loves us even more than three dimensions. He has a fourth dimension to his love. Read it again. “breadth and length and height and depth.” He has the volume, which is already infinity x infinity x infinity and then multiplies that by infinity.
Jesus’ love is four dimensional.
I get volume. I understand that very well. I did enough calculations in physics to get a great grasp on volume. When you make the dimensions infinity, then you are now getting outside of what I can comprehend. I sorta kinda get it… but barely in concept. But then go and multiply that infinity by infinity… I can’t grasp that at all. But this is why Paul prays that we would have the strength to comprehend it all. Something that he describes as, “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” Of course we can’t get it in this 3 dimensional world. We have to add the spiritual aspect to it. Something outside of time and space (volume).
So let’s bring that back to the love I have for my wife. It can’t just be a 3 step program or check lists or learning a new language. It has to include a spiritual aspect to it. How do we do that? Looking to Christ, we see how often he would pray for the church. Jesus, part of the triune God, prayed to the Father. Don’t you think Jesus’ thoughts were the same as God’s? Did Jesus need to pray? I don’t think he needed to but he did because he came here to show us how to live. I need to pray for my wife. I need to pray in a way that gets outside of this volume that I understand.
It is so much more than prayer too. Jesus laid his life down for us. Jesus spent time with us. Jesus taught us. Jesus cared for us, lead us, protected us and on and on and on. There is so much to learn from Jesus in how we can love our wives. But that is just one person that we are to love. We are to love others too. If we don’t love our brother, how can we then love our Father? And we are supposed to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. We don’t even comprehend the type of love we are suppose to love each other with. How, then, are we to even come close to understanding the love that Jesus has for us!
The good news is this, we don’t have to understand it to receive it. God so loved the world that he gave. It isn’t, “God has such a great love for us and for those that understand it, he sent…” But upon receiving it, we can start to understand it in order that our lives will be changed and we can live out loving others as Jesus has commanded us. Paul prayed for strength for us to learn something outside of what we can comprehend in order grow.
Talk about shooting for the stars in order to hit the moon!