“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP
It is one thing to be born again; it is another thing to have Christ, through your faith, making His permanent home in your heart. If you want Him to settle down and abide in you, you have to allow Him to have His way in your life and you have to be submitted to His word. You need to obey Him and live your life speaking and doing what the word tells you to. Father God wants you to be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love. How do you do this? You do this by choosing to walk in love, every day, in every situation. He doesn’t want you to just know about His love, He wants you to experience His love for yourself. Knowing the love of Christ practically, through experience, for yourself, far surpasses mere knowledge without experience. It is one thing to talk about the love of God, it is another to actually be a doer of the word and walk in it.
God is love – they are one and the same – you cannot separate them. The more you come to know and experience God’s love, the more you are filled and flooded with the fullness – the very richest measure – of God Himself!
Now about food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature]. 2 If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary. 3 But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him]. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 AMP
Mere knowledge on a subject is not enough. You need to have the experience of that subject for it to do any good in your life. Mere knowledge causes people to be puffed up and prideful, to carry themselves arrogantly, and to think of themselves more highly than they ought. Pride is like a huge wall that stands between you and God. Pride is self-sufficient; pride elevates itself above others; pride stands in judgment over others. However, God has not given us this place or this right to elevate ourselves to sit in the judge’s seat nor to judge others – that is Jesus’ place alone – and even He has chosen not to judge us, but to receive us and forgive us instead! Are we better than He? I think not! When we judge others, we are lifting ourselves up even as we are tearing them down. However, love humbles itself even as it builds others up. When you walk in love, love will build you up too.
None of us is perfect, neither do we have the ability in ourselves to be who we are meant to be, but the love of God sees who we are and who we can be. Love believes the best and expects the best of us. Love covers, and forgives, and chooses to forget our sins and imperfections, and instead, edifies us, builds us up, and encourages us to grow up into our full stature in Christ. When we are confident in our own resources and abilities, that is arrogance, but when we are confident in Christ alone, Who lives in us, we are simply bold!
You can call yourself a Christian, you can know the scriptures inside out, and off by heart, in your head, but if you do not embrace the love of God, receiving it for yourself and then allowing it to flow out of your heart toward others, you do not understand the first thing about God or His word or His nature or His character! In other words, you don’t know God! God’s word must drop down from your head into your heart. It must touch the core of who you are. You are the only one who has they key to your own heart and you need to receive God’s word personally, not just intellectually, or it will never profit you. You will be like the religious Pharisees who make the word of God of no effect through their works program and their religious tradition (Mark 7:13).
These are the hallmarks of a person who has had a revelation of the love of God and who is a doer and not merely a hearer of the word: they love God truly with affectionate reverence, they are prompt to obey Him, and they daily acknowledge and are truly grateful for all of His blessings. Before you judge another person, look deeply into your own heart and ask yourself if you are doing these three things. As soon as you make the adjustments in your own heart and life, you will begin to walk in a liberty you have never experienced before!