Friday, June 1, 2012

Zone of Influence

My internet homepage is one of those sites that gives me daily scripture. I am not that great at being consistent with my Bible reading, so for me, this is a great way to guarantee that I get at least a glimpse of God's Word each day. Today's verse moved me so incredibly that I had to share. It comes from Ephesians 3: 16-19:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Read it again.

Now read it again. :)

Reading this verse just reminds me of how amazingly intelligent our God is. So often, I expect and desire to be strengthened by Him and given gifts like knowledge and fulfillment(fullness) but I neglect to take a look at the first few parts of this verse. Here are a few thoughts that stuck out to me:

We cannot fully receive any of those gifts from God or know Him more unless we are digging deeper our roots/establishing ourselves in His love. What does that look like? Well, what epitomizes His love? Jesus! As the first part of the verse states, through our faith in Jesus we allow Jesus to dwell/reside in our hearts (in the form of His Holy Spirit). When this takes place THEN and only THEN can we receive God's strengthening and knowledge. Is this getting too DEEP? Good!!! 

That is God's plan. The deeper we root ourselves in His love the deeper he can give us things like strength, knowledge and other gifts. Take a look at this picture. God needs us to be set deep in Him just like trees and homes need to be set deep in the ground in order to better grow and thrive. This picture comes from a construction company's website out of Canada. The company is addressing the impact of shallow foundations and rooting systems to the stability of a tree or home's foundation. Does that sound familiar?

A tree is only as strong as it's roots. And the strength of a building can be noted by how deep it's foundation is and how firm it's foundation is. 

Here is a silly thought. When a storm comes, it may damage the house but it will be much harder to actually move the house to another address. Not impossible, but much more difficult. Likewise, when we establish ourself in Christ we choose to build our lives on loving like Christ. When we do that, we will still face storms and damage but it will be much more difficult to uproot the house to another location. (Side note: When watching the news after a natural disaster, compare the damage on manufactured homes (shallow foundations) and single family residences/corporate buildings (deeper foundations).

What does it look like for us to deepen our roots/ establish our foundation in God's love? Well, here was my struggle today. I started thinking about something and had to stop. (Many times it is me talking and I have to stop myself. oops! haha.) Are my thoughts or words established in God's love? Meaning, when I dig deeper to the root of what I am trying to accomplish with these thoughts are they self gratifying, sinful, or malice or are they meant to edify Christ. If my thoughts and words are rooted in love there is a much much MUCH greater chance that they will edify Christ than if they are founded in anything else. (Side note: Check out the meaning to "edify". When our foundation is poured in love then an only then can we "edify"  _____.) 

My final side note:  Did you see the "zone of influence" in the picture? Satan does not care nearly as much about affecting our structure as he does our "zone of influence". He knows that if he can get us at the roots than he has more influence in uprooting us completely. And isn't that his ultimate goal?

Take some time to dig deeper and re-evaluate your roots. How deeply are you founded in Christ's love. Is every support beam, wall, and door in your life set in a concrete foundation of His love? Have you allowed Satan to use sin and selfish desires to begin to deteriorate your foundation? As the verse promises, when we establish our lives in this deep love then God can fill us with His Spirit and give us things like strength and knowledge beyond what this world has to offer. Dig deep and let Christ's love overtake your roots, your "zone of influence".

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