The source of real life change is a comprehension of the magnitude of God’s unconditional love for us. One of Paul’s most profound prayers for the Ephesians (and for us!) is that we all would be “…rooted and grounded in love…” and that we’d “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth…” of “the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.” (See Ephesians 3:16-17) I’ve often wondered how Paul expected anyone to comprehend God’s love if it “surpassed knowledge.” How could we know the unknowable? I like to think that “comprehend” is more like experience. There are many things we experience that we don’t fully understand. Simple things like a beautiful sunrise and sunset are things that don’t need to be fully understood to be fully appreciated and experienced.

The idea of love has been corrupted in our world. We are inundated with love songs and love stories in which lovers gush with reasons for their love. Elizabeth Browning wrote in a very famous love sonnet, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” I remember many valentine’s day cards I’ve given to my wife over the years and how they express a rationale for my love: I love to hear your voice, your love has helped me rediscover myself, your love is the antidote for despair, you’re always on my side, I love the way I feel when I’m with you. My point is that all these expressions describe a “conditional” kind of love. Whenever you need to explain “why” you love someone, you are expressing conditions. Our love is often that way, but not God’s love.

A. T. Pierson observed that Paul “treats the love of God as a cube, having breadth and length, depth and height…a perfection of form. Every side of a cube is a perfect square, and from every angle it presents the same appearance.” The Holy of Holies was cube-shaped, so is the New Jerusalem, and so is the love of God. The Width of His Love. His outstretched arms can encompass all humanity (John 3:16). His love removes our sins “as far as the east from the west” (Ps. 103:12). The Length of His Love: Eternal, providing His children with everlasting life. The Depth of His Love. Reaching down to the most horrid and hopeless sinner. The Height of His Love. “As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward us” (Ps. 103:11). Elisabeth Barrett Browning continues her love sonnet by writing, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach….” But only God loves us with infinite dimensions. He loves you to an endless degree.