14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom [l]every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to bestrengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the [m]saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
I’m sure you can tell I’ve been thinking about love this whole week, specifically God’s love, the love of Jesus Christ, the love of a God and a man who loved us first and gave and continues to give us everything when we gave him nothing. I fall for love: the romantic, cheesy, stuff of movies and fairy tales. I idealize and romanticize unhealthily. I love love, I love the idea of it, and I love being in love. But these types of love are not sustainable, cannot be fulfilled without the love of Christ. If God is capital Love, perfect Love, then love as we know it in society, as we see in the world without God, is but a mere, tiny brushstroke on the massive canvas of God’s Love. Getting unnecessarily metaphorical here, I know. But the Love that I am experiencing, because it is so indescribable and inexplicable, I can only try to describe and put it into words.
Here’s the problem with accepting the Love of Christ. We think it’s good, but we don’t realize how great and how powerful it is. Measured up to worldly standards of success, love is for pansies. You can’t become a CEO by loving all your employees. Forget that. You gotta give tough love and fire the ones that become dispensable. You need to be feared, revered, worshiped. That’s success in our world. And nowadays, the latest idol we worship is knowledge.
I am a UC Berkeley grad. That literally means nothing to me as a Christian. But to the world, it’s validation that I’m smart. I go to different countries, encounter Asian immigrant communities in churches and in the Bay Area, and they are in awe. I also often in my heart judge people based on their education, which is so completely wrong. It’s unfortunate that that’s the way the world works, that that’s what we as humans value, but it’s true. The educated elite are valued at the top right now – Ivy League grads, world class ranked schools…people take pride in that stuff. There was some random world class university ranking list that came out recently, and Berkeley was listed as fifth or something, one rank above Stanford. My Facebook feed was filled with students sharing this link and showing their Cal pride/bashing Stanford, which of course can be light-hearted and all in good fun, but it demonstrates that this pride in knowledge defines many of us and in many cases, consumes us. I know it consumed me. But we fail to see that it is meaningless in the eternal sense. In this lifetime, it matters to people. God loves us anyway, so it doesn’t matter to Him what school you came from, or if you went to school at all. Even if you can’t read, He loves you. So yeah, education’s important – I think reading is important and can open up a realm of great things like exchange of ideas and Harry Potter. But it’s not necessary to be in the kingdom of God. There is no barrier to the kingdom of God because of the love of Christ. That is the power of the Gospel. Everyone is equally, uniquely loved.
I get worried and anxious about how I might change in the working world. Because in the working world, Christ is often not valued. Knowledge is power, as my dad loves to say to me. You have to have something the organization can use you for, or else you’re out. In the mechanics of an organization, you are a cog in a machine, almost no longer human. Really depends, obviously, on what type of organization and work environment you’re in, but your value is in what you contribute to your work, and not in God. I pray that I don’t forget the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. Christ came. He overcame. He defeated death. And He loved us first. Let us dwell on that Love through faith, and “be filled up to all the fullness of God.”