Transformed by the Relationship
. . . That you, being rooted and grounded in love, 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, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19
I have casual acquaintances – people whom I recognize and see occasionally – who just don’t have much effect on my life. Then, I have those whom I know quite well – friends at the gym, work, and church – who’ve impacted my life in some significant way. I know them, I spend time with them, and in knowing these friends and mentors, I’ve been changed in some way. No other relationships though, have had more impact on who I am, than my immediate family has.
In living with them for more than 20 years, we’ve radically impacted each other’s lives. It’s difficult to imagine – and I don’t want to – what my life would be like without them. I’m a completely different person than I was before I knew them, and I’d be a completely different person without them in my life now. By experiencing life with them and through knowing them, I’ve been changed forever.
This is similar to the principle which Paul described in today’s passage. In it, he described God as a loving father who wants to pour out his Spirit in us, so that we may know Christ in our hearts. God wants us to experience the profound breadth, length, height, and depth of his love towards us. God desperately desires that we know him intimately, and in knowing him, we’ll inescapably be changed forever.
How is it that we may know God? God is a person and as such, we can know him a little or we can know him a lot. The closer our relationship, the more we’ll be transformed. Just like a person, we grow more intimate by listening to him (reading his word), thinking about him (meditating), and talking to him (praying). Our relationship grows proportionately with the amount of time we spend seeking it.
I didn’t get to know my family by spending an hour once a week with them. I got to know my family by experiencing life with them. I built my existence around theirs. It’s the same with God. We don’t live in a close relationship with him simply by going to church once a week. We get to know him by daily pointing our lives at him, pursuing him, and obeying him. When we do this, we’ll grow in our relationship and knowledge of him. Our greatest purpose and calling in life is to know God. In knowing him, we’ll be transformed forever.