Grounded in God’s Love
Published January 30, 2023
Believers must love one another with the love of God, as we observed from 1 John 4:7, but to love one another consistently, believers must become grounded in God’s love. In Ephesians 3:17, the apostle Paul prays fervently for his readers to be “rooted and grounded in love.” Love for the believer must be more than a feeling or even an action performed toward others. Love must be the root and foundation of the believer’s life, and a spiritually mature church is not merely one that loves superficially but one that is grounded in the love of God. There are three characteristics that I believe are indicative of the “grounded” church – truth, fellowship, and forgiveness.
If we are grounded in God’s love, we will be grounded in His truth. In Ephesians 4:14-16, Paul contrasts the ungrounded and immature, who are “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine…” and the mature believer who is growing “up in all aspects into Him.” A deep and rich understanding of God’s Word is what builds a foundation that keeps the believer from being tossed here and there. This understanding is not merely intellectual but volitional. True understanding of God’s Word results not only in accurate information but in the transformation of character. Being grounded in truth is not measured by how much truth you know but by how truth has transformed you from the inside out. A church that is deep in the truth of God’s Word leads to its members growing up in Christ and securing their lives on his immovable foundation, hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
If we are grounded in God’s love, we will be grounded in fellowship. Both 1 John 1:3 and Galatians 5:13 highlight the importance of fellowship in the lives of believers and of their churches. A church grounded in God’s love has rich fellowship and mutual service with members using their gifts to bless each other. We should not be able to exist without engaging with one another – at a minimum – once a week on Sunday mornings, and even additional times during the week.
We saw the importance of being grounded in fellowship throughout the COVID-19 situation of the past few years. Billions of people around the world were frightened to be around others for fear that they might transmit or receive a hidden virus. As a result, we observed more chaos, fear, and uncertainty in our communities – even in many churches that were closed for extended periods of time. We desperately need the fellowship and service of the saints that only comes from the love of God that we share as a common bond.
If we are grounded in God’s love, we will be grounded in forgiveness. I love Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:32-5:2, where he tells his readers to forgive each other “just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” An unforgiving church will be ripped apart by disunity, spitefulness, and bitterness. But a forgiving church is grounded in God’s love; that church will continue long after others have faded. We remember that Christ has forgiven us exponentially more than anything done to us. This changes the way we interact with others as we show grace to those around us.
A church that is comprised of men, women, and children who are relentlessly grounded in God’s love will be an unstoppable force in this dark world. My prayer for this year at Desert Hills is that as we grow outward in our love for one another, we would grow downward so that our faith is rooted and grounded in God’s love. That only occurs if we are committed to being transformed by the truth of His Word, engaging in fellowship with one another on a regular basis, and learning to forgive those in the church who offend or sin against us. That downward growth of being grounded in God’s love will then enable us to “be filled up to all the fullness of God.”