THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY: BREAKING THE CYCLE
On Sunday Pastor Jeremy Johnson continued our series, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” by encouraging us to break the cycle of going from relationship to relationship living off surface level love. According to Ephesians 3:17-18, we are to be rooted and established in love so that we can have the power to grasp the never-ending love of God. We have no hope of grasping it apart from one another.
How can we be rooted and established in love if we only remain at surface level? At surface level we just have the ability to believe everyone is awesome. If we are rooted and established in love for one another, we have the honor of believing everyone is awesome in spite of their hang ups. When we love each other in spite of it all, we begin to walk in the love of Jesus. Being rooted and established in love does not happen overnight. To be rooted means you have to dig deep, and to be established means you have to have a strong foundation. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the building is; if it has a poor foundation and doesn’t have the roots to maintain the weight, it is going to fall. It’s a waste of time to build something without a foundation, just as it is when you try and go after your dreams without love and support. We were not meant to live life alone. We were meant to build each other up. Ephesians 4:16 says, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
When we build each other up as opposed to building on our own, we give ourselves permission to operate on our strengths, while others take on our weaknesses, enabling us to carry so much more. Take Belgian horses, for example! One horse alone can carry 8,000 pounds. That’s pretty good, right? But when one horse is partnered with another horse, they can pull 24,000 pounds - three times the amount they pull on their own. When these horses begin to know each other a little bit better, they can pull four times as much: 32,000 pounds. When horses have grown up and been working together since being foals, they can pull up to 50,000 pounds! Our strength is based on the longevity of our love. How much we can carry and how far we can go is determined by how much work we put into relationships. Why settle for 8,000 pounds when we are capable of carrying 50,000?
You may be reading this thinking, “I’m fine with the 8,000 pounds. Loving people this way is too much work, and filled with too much hurt.” But is it really love if you only love someone when it’s easy? In Matthew 43, Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. If we only love those who love us, we are no different than pagans. Verse 48 states, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Perfect here doesn’t mean flawless, but it means to repair and adjust. To repair and adjust means to see the needs of another and act accordingly. Each relationship in your life has a different function and reveals a different facet of God’s love. You can’t love everyone the same way. To be rooted and established, to repair and adjust all takes work, but it’s within that work that we reach our dreams. It’s within that work that we receive the love that we crave, because in loving one another we receive the revelation of how wide, long, high and deep the love of Christ is for us! Ask God to show you how to be rooted and established, and how to adjust and repair so that you can live the life you are called to live. Your dream could be one friendship away!