Rooted and Grounded in Love

Text: Ephesians 3:16 & 17
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. (NRSV)

There is another text that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).  And in the Gospel of John, we hear Jesus on the night that he was betrayed say, “I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

The receiving of the Holy Spirt is an incredibly important aspect of New Testament Christian theology.  There is an intense focus on the work of the third person of the Trinity who is coequal with the Father and the Son.  Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to the believers as their source of power to continue his work in the world.  The Spirit makes a grand entrance during Pentecost literally transforming the followers of Jesus from scared and hiding to bold proclaimers of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God (see Acts 2).

According to this mornings text, it is the Spirit of God that allows Christ to dwell in our hearts.  But, for me, the most important thing is the Holy Spirit roots me and grounds me in love.  I can have all kind of power, but if I don’t operate out of love, the power becomes abusive and even works against the Kingdom of God.

Power without love has been Satan’s way of destroying the witness of the Church of Jesus Christ from the very beginning.  It would not take much research (however it is beyond the scope of this devotion) to see the evil that came from the Christian Church because of power that was wielded with pride, anger, and hatred of others instead of power that was rooted and grounded in love; the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the early persecution of the Anabaptists by both Protestants and Catholics alike just to name a few examples.

Today, we still see a large vocal portion of the Church wielding power without love.  There are shouts of anger, there are harsh words of judgement, and, yes, there are even those who would continue to spill blood all while claiming to be disciples of Jesus Christ.  This is not what Jesus taught.  This is not what James, Peter, John, and Paul write about in their letters found in our Bibles.  This is not the power of God rooted and grounded in love.

Have you received the gift of the Holy Spirt dwelling in you?  Are you responding to the events in your life with the power of Jesus Christ rooted and grounded in love?  What is the evidence of God’s love in you that would be shared about you from family, neighbors, and friends?

Pray with me:

God of power and love, fill me this day with your Holy Spirit.  Strengthen me according to your riches and overflowing love.  Root me and ground me in the same love that you have for me, as I live out my love for you and for neighbor in all that I do.  AMEN.

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