“. . . that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17b-19, ESV)

In Ephesians 2 Paul had revealed to his audience that Christ has made all men one by His sacrifice. Thus, all those who are in Him are members of His church, His Kingdom. In the light of this revelation, Paul goes on to pray for them. He wants them as members of this heavenly kingdom to act in its interests, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and live in the unity of Christ. He wants them to experience the full love of Christ, to be rooted and grounded in it. In this way all they do will come forth from an undergirding of love.

I have spent many years in the Charismatic and evangelical branches of the church. There was much emphasis on being filled with the Spirit in the former and being grounded in the truth of God’s word in the latter. While obviously we believers need both the Spirit and the Word, there was disagreement as to how these were achieved and for what purpose. In these words from Paul, he indicates that the fullness of Christ and the Spirit are rooted in love. This love is not the emotional, romantic or physical feelings so emphasized in our culture. The love which Paul speaks about is the love of Christ who sacrificed Himself for all mankind to atone for our sins, to reconcile us to God. If we want to be filled with the Spirit, if we want to know and proclaim the truth of God’s Word, we do not need to do anything esoteric or speak in tongues or dance around like whirling dervishes. If we want be filled with the Spirit we must act with words and deeds of love. We must love not only our brethren in the Lord, but also those outside the Church. Our love is demonstrated with deeds that spring forth from the love and compassion Jesus imparts to us. When we act in love we are filled by the loving presence of God who is acting in and through us.