Learning the Love of Christ

Paul’s second mind-blowing prayer request for the Ephesians in 3:14-21 is that they would come to know the full extent of the love of Christ even though that love is limitless. Unfortunately, we often think that Christ’s love is something we ‘learn’ at our salvation and that’s it. Paul, at least, thinks that it is one of the main jobs of the Christian and Church to come to know Christ’s love.

But how do we come to know Christ’s love more fully? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. We learn Christ’s love by praying to know Christ’s love. “Paul points out that knowledge of the full dimensions of God’s secrete cannot be easily mastered; it requires a strength only God can give.” (M. Barth 372) If it is a strength that only God can give than we must ask for it. But this is a prayer he is eager to answer!
  2. We learn Christ’s love by loving. Love is something beset learned by doing. We come to understand CHrist’s love for us better as we try to love others with his love and encounter both the joys and challenges of loving.
  3. We learn Christ’s love by failing in love. It is not just ‘successfully’ loving that can be our instructor in the love of Christ. We can learn even by failing in love. We so often try to love others, fail, and then just beat ourselves up about it. Use your failure as a moment to point you toward the perfect love of Christ.
  4. We learn Christ’s love by receiving love in humility. Christ communicates his love to us through others. Because we don’t like to be served we often brush off others’ acts of love. But Christ’s love through them can be part of our education in his love.
  5. We learn Christ’s love by encountering it in Communion.
    The Communion table is a moment to be taught Christ’s love that is ‘built in’ to the life of the church.
  6. We learn Christ’s love by meditating on Christ’s acts of love. Not only the gospels, but certainly not less than the gospels are a source for us to learn of the various aspects of the love of Christ.

Note that much of this doesn’t just happen. It involves us prayerfully reflecting on Scripture and our experienced being love and loving. If you make no time for such ‘study’ don’t be surprised if you don’t learn much.

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