Paul prayed in this way for the church at Ephesus:
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, [God] may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. —Ephesians 3:16:17
Christ resides in us, and we reside in Christ by our trust that what God says about himself and us in the person of Jesus Christ is true. By faith we participate in the triune love of God. Paul’s prayer is for this divine participation to be increasingly experienced as we are increasingly “rooted and grounded in love.”
Through the work of the Spirit in our lives and through the discipline of our minds, the roots of our lives must become firmly planted in the reality of God’s love as revealed in Christ. Like the ground from which a tree’s roots are nourished, God’s love is the one source from which we are to drink and derive nourishment.
When we are empty, we are to drink the fullness of God’s love.
When we face temptation, we are to drink the strength of God’s love.
When we catch ourselves feeling superior, we are to drink in the mercy of God’s love, remembering that we ourselves are forgiven sinners.
When we feel condemned, we are to drink the forgiveness of God’s love.
When we feel despair, we are to drink the hope of God’s love.
When we feel lifeless, we are to drink the abundant life that is God’s love.
When we feel hate, we are to drink in the love that led Christ to give up his life for those who hated him.
It is all there in Christ. He is the truth and he is the life (John 14:6). We must be rooted in him and in him alone. Love conquers all.
God’s love, as revealed in Christ, is also the source of our grounding, our stability in life. Trees with deep roots bend when strong winds come, but they are not uprooted like trees with shallow roots. So too, our stability in life depends on our being firmly grounded in the reality of God’s love as it is revealed in Christ. If our lives are grounded in idols from which we try to get life, we are building our house on sinking sand. But if our lives are grounded in Christ as “the source of [our] life” (1 Cor 1:30), our house is built upon an immovable rock (Matt 7:24-27).
We live in a world under the influence of the Accuser, who roams about as a lion seeking to devour us (1 Pet 5:8). He is continually accusing God before us, just as he is perpetually accusing us before God, just as he is perpetually accusing us before God, ourselves, and each other. If we are not rooted and grounded in God’s love, we will invariably find ourselves unconsciously or consciously judging and accusing God, and then ourselves and each other. We will live in judgment, and the flow of love from God to us and through us will be suppressed.
May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, being rooted and grounded in love.
—Adapted from Repenting of Religion, 133-135