The love of God is continually wooing us deeper into his presence, all the while we are content to stay on the sidelines and observe from a far. Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 teaches us to fight apathy by positioning ourselves under the waterfall of God’s ever-flowing love for us…”that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.” But how do we do this? How do we keep from just standing on the edge and gazing in? How, practically, can we dive in and experience the waterfall of God’s love? I think looking a bit at Niagara Falls can help us with this.
Niagara Falls is one of the most magnificent places in the world. It’s power and beauty is incredible (Check out this amazing drone video of Niagara Falls).
Did you know that 3,160 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second. That’s 750,000 gallons of water every second. THAT’S INSANE! Also, the Falls is capable of producing over 2.4 million kilowatts of power. That’s enough power to light 24 million 100-watt bulbs at once. Again, that’s insane!
I’m amazed at the power, might, and beauty of the Falls, yet I’ve never been there. I’ve watched countless videos and asked people who have visited what it is like, but personally I’ve never seen it. There’s actually a boat you can get on to get the full experience. It’s called, “Maid of the Mist.” This boat will take you very close to the falls to give you the full effect of her glory. If you’re brave enough to get on the “Maid of the Mist,” you might take note of the dress code. ” Blue rain poncho optional. But we highly suggest you wear it, or else…”
The truth is, you’re gonna get soaking wet, so you better wear it.
I love how this depicts Paul’s prayer in Eph. 3:14-21. The only way to fully know the immensity of God’s love for us it to experience the fullness of it. Don’t just read books, watch videos, ask people, or even stand on the side and look in. You have got to get on the boat that’s going to take you into the waterfalls of his love.
So how do we do that? How do we keep from just “standing on the edge” and gazing in, but practically dive in and experience the waterfalls of God’s love?
Here are five practical ways:
1. Jump in!
Around 5000 people have lost their lives at Niagara Falls. In fact, 20-40 people per year go there to take their own life. These numbers are tragic and I don’t mean to be morbid or insensitive to any loss of life by the Falls or any other means; but there’s a profound point here. To truly experience the depths of God’s love, it requires complete surrender to His power and glory that WILL lead to our death. Jesus puts it this way in Matt. 16:25, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” To experience the fullness of God’s love, we’ve got to die to ourselves.
2. Plunge the depths of God’s love in community!
We can’t fully know God alone. Paul said it this way in his prayer, “That you 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” (Eph. 3:18-19). We must live life in community.
3. Fight complacency!
We must stop thinking we’ve arrived in our understand and purist of the Lord. There’s so much more to press into (Philippians 3:12–14). We’ve got to fight complacency (in community) with all that we are! As D.A. Carson puts it, we don’t drift into holiness…
“People do not drift towards holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.” (D.A. Carson)
Fighting complacency is the fight of our lives, but I promise you, there is no better fight. So fight for your joy!
4. Let God’s love flow through you!
We’ll never deeply experience God’s love until we see that what he’s done to us he wants to do through us. We become the conduit of his love to others. Stop sitting around focusing on your own life and God’s love for YOU. Get up and get busy serving and loving those that God has put in your life.
5. Pray for more of God!
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Paul prays “that you may be filled with all the fulness of God!” (v.19). Can we be honest, that hasn’t happened yet. We’ve got a ways to go. So join me in praying for God to do it in our lives. Pray that you would know God more in 2016 than you ever have before!
Going to the Falls and getting on the boat is a perspective changer. Don’t just settle for a distant understanding of God’s love. Get under the falls and let him take your life for his glory and your joy.
Pray Eph. 3:14-21
We bow before you Father and ask, according to your glory, that you would strengthen us with power through your Spirit in our inner beings.
That Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith.
That we would be rooted and grounded in love.
And would have the strength to comprehend together your breadth and length and height and depth.
That we would know your love, that’s beyond our knowledge.
And that we would be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.