In small group this past week, we wrapped up our study on the first half of Ephesians by taking a look at chapter 3, verses 14-21. I thought it was interesting how Paul organized his letter to include a transitional prayer midway through his thoughts. Recall that the first three chapters provide commentary on the theology of a Christian life, one being lived “in Christ”, while the next three chapters encourage us to live out that theology through a practical application.
Most interesting, at least to me, was Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians in verse 17. As he prays that they might understand the width, length, height and depth of Christ’s love, he writes, “….and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, …..” Think about that for a moment. What a great condition. That love, for both God and others, would bury its roots deep into our soul. These roots would take hold and provide the strength and nourishment for our journey. Additionally, the word “established” implies that this love is set in place, maturing and intending to endure.
Some translations include the phrase “grounded in love". This is an architectural term referring to the building's foundation. In other words, all that we are in Christ, and all that we live out in Christ, is to rest upon this foundation of love. Grounded in the soul is the love that was demonstrated on the cross and is now ours to freely share with others.
As we discussed this in the group, I just kept thinking how great it would be for churches, small groups, families, marriages, friendships, on and on, to be genuinely rooted and established in love. I’ve also decided that it was most definitely intentional that Paul took a moment to pray for this transition from theology to application. He knew that in our humanity we can often misuse / misinterpret the grace that God gifted us as we go about our daily life. Paul's words are a reminder that all application of that grace must be lived out with a Christ-like love.
See everyone next week.