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Prayers of Paul – Knowing the Love of Christ Personally – Pt.9

“may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:18-19)

In the previous article we mentioned that this prayer from Paul has a cascading effect. The prayer starts with being “strengthened with might” – the result of that is Christ “dwelling in your hearts through faith.” Then there is a being “rooted and grounded in love.” That brings us to our present place – being “able to comprehend…to know the love of Christ.” 

In this article we will be looking at quite a few words in the original Greek. The first one is “able” in “able to comprehend. The Greek word is exischyō and means “to be eminently able, able, to have full strength.” It is a strong word that means to have the full ability to do something. Think of the strong lumberjack who is well-equipped to do his job. 

The next word is “comprehend.” It is from katalambanō and means “to lay hold of so as to make one’s own, to obtain, attain to.” It is a personal word and another word of power. It is forceful in a way that will not be denied. Paul used this word in Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold (katalambanō) of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold (katalambanō) of me.” Jesus was able to “lay hold” of all our lives by dying on the cross. We lay hold by the Holy Spirit – and in this case by being strengthened with might, Christ dwelling in our hearts – leading to us being fully able to comprehend (take hold) of the love of Christ. So we see from this prayer that intimacy with Christ requires a level of spiritual warfare. We must have the strength of the Spirit to be strong on this inside and have the ability to lay hold of the love of Christ. 
The next part is something that can be overlooked if we are not careful. But it is of great importance – a vital ingredient. Paul said that we would comprehend “with all the saints” the full love of Christ. If we go through life without “all the saints” in our lives we will only see a small aspect of Christ’s love. You see, God has made each of us to reflect His love and personality in a unique, beautiful way. 

from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:16) With all of the saints we will be able to know “what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ.” We can never know the full measure of Christ’s love. It is like an unexplored country ready for us to discover its beauty. But we can trust that as Jesus dwells in our hearts He will give us many tours in this unexplored country. 

The last part is that the love of Christ “passes knowledge.” The Greek word for passes is hyperballō and means “to surpass in throwing, to throw over or beyond any thing.” I get this beautiful picture of Jesus throwing a ball representing His love going over our limited human intellect. His love goes above and beyond any human knowledge that we can have. And this is wonderful news because it is often the mind that keeps us from knowing the love of God in a full way.

Ultimately, the greatest desire of the Lord is that we know Him personally and intimately. He is not interested in us intellectually knowing He loves us. He wants us to experience it – to “know the love of Christ.” This is what we were made for. When God made Adam and Eve he walked with them in the cool of the day. They got to know their creator in a personal way. We too can know God this way. I dare say even more since we have the person of the Holy Spirit to show us Jesus. 

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