Love unfathomable. Love unimaginable. Love beyond measure. Love boundless. Love unleashed. Love that never ends. Love that goes on and on – and on. Love that loves when all you want to do is run the other way. And hide. And scream. And give up. And turn away. Or lash out. And attack. And show vengeance. And break. Or both. And all of it. Or any of it. And cry. And sob. And weep. And mourn. And bang your fists. Or yell and scream and holler and rage and cry NO WAY, “I will not love this person anymore!” Or ever. “I will never love that person. Ever!” How can God even conceive of it? How can He ask you – no, how can He command you? How can He command you to “love one another” in this case? Or that case. Surely there is an exception to loving your neighbor – to loving another. This must be the exception. If only God would take back what He said about love – in this instance anyway. For you cannot possibly love this one. Or that one. It’s too unfathomable. Too unimaginable. Too impossible. Too out of the question. Yes, totally unfathomable. Unfathomable love.
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Give her an unfathomable love for that person, I prayed for a friend as I drove along. Such an unfathomable prayer for me. Why? Not because I don’t know how impossible it is without God to love the unlovable, but because I almost never use the word unfathomable. Nor do I almost ever pray a prayer like this one. The very prayer I need myself. The very prayer we all need. That God would help us to love the very person, or people, so impossible to love. They are impossible, aren’t they? Or so we think. We think – we are convinced, in fact – that they are impossible to love.
But are they? Aren’t we? Aren’t we all? All of us in our sins, none of us excepted from being sinners who fall short of God’s glory every breath of our lives. How can we love one another then? With all our shortcomings? With all our bloody sins? How can we love, even more unfathomable, the people who hurt us, who hate us, who neglect us, who reject us, who wound us, who abandon us, who abuse us? How can we love THEM? Oh, but we can. Can’t we? Can we? Oh yes! But isn’t this too unfathomable? Too impossible? Yes, yes it is! Totally unfathomable. That is why, I believe, the Lord laid it on my heart to pray this way. Give her an unfathomable love for that person. How could she possibly love that other person? She cannot! That is why she needs an unfathomable love. Because in her own humanness, in her own sin nature, in her own weakness, in her own human “strength” which is in fact weak, in her own flesh, she cannot possibly love that other person. So why then would I pray this way? Because when Jesus Christ died on the cross for the ungodly while we were still sinners to pay the penalty for our sins so that through repentance and faith placed in Him as Lord we would be forgiven and given eternal life with God instead of eternity in hell, He not only demonstrated to us God’s unfathomable love for us who would give up His only begotten Son in such a way for us. But He showed us how He commands us to love. Unfathomably.
Unfathomable love. How are we called to love unfathomably? By laying down our lives as Jesus Christ laid down His. By laying down our own desires, agendas, plans, dreams, wishes, and lusts, by denying ourselves and what we want to satisfy ourselves and taking up our crosses and following Jesus and learning to live according to God’s plans and ways rather than our own, we, too, would learn to love the ungodly. We too would learn to love others while they are still sinners. We wouldn’t just follow Christ in our words by calling ourselves Christ followers. We would learn to follow Christ in our actions. Beginning with this. Loving like He does. But how? How impossible! How unfathomable.
Yes, in our own flesh, unfathomable. But love unfathomable that is impossible in our own strength is possible this way. In Christ. Through Christ. In the Lord’s strength. For God’s glory. Not for ours. But for His. And this, I believe, is what makes this love unfathomable. Because when we realize that God equips us through our faith in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, standing in the strength of the Bible, then we truly can do the impossible. We can draw on the endless well of God’s love that He pours into us by His Holy Spirit for those of us who are saved through faith in Christ and who ask for and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. God fills us with His love to love others. He gives us His unfathomable love to love others unfathomably.
Is it fun? Is it pretty? Does it feel good? Is it wrapped up in pretty packages with big bows on top? Is it pleasurable? Oh, so often, so very far from it. Sometimes, even often, it sears at the flesh. Sometimes whole chunks of flesh fall off as we are called to walk in the spirit rather than our flesh. Sometimes it hurts so badly, and is so desperately unpleasant and un-pleasurable to love someone who is doing anything and everything but loving us, that the flesh feels like it is dying. And, in all honesty, it is. For we are called to mortify (to kill) the awful deeds of our flesh, to get rid of them, and to instead live as God has called us to live. God is love. God first loved us. He calls us to love Him who first loved us. Then He calls us to love our neighbors, to love others, which He enables us to do with His love.
Unfathomable love all begins with this.With God.With Jesus Christ. And with the faith to believe when God calls us to love that we are capable through Jesus Christ of doing just that.
Are you? Are you loving unfathomably? Who is the person who keeps crossing your path whom you have convinced yourself you absolutely cannot love? Whom are you refusing to love?
Stop running. Turn around. And love. In Christ. Through Christ. For the glory of the Lord!
Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
1Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
1Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1Jn 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
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