By Brooke Holt
“O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” The Collect for the 6th Sunday in Easter, Book of Common Prayer
Take a moment to consider these questions: what do you love most in this world? Who are the most important people in your life? And what do you desire more than anything else?
Many of us would answer these questions with a focus on our beloved family members. Some may include work, wealth, or travel. Others might desire approval, success, or a sense of significance. All of these answers may be good; however, the Collect for today would have you pause yet again. Pause and remember the giver of these gifts. Who is worthy of being your first love, your priority, and the greatest desire of your heart? God is the giver of all gifts, the Creator of all things, and the great architect of your life.
The prayer begins with a reminder that God’s plans for your life surpass your understanding. You may have good plans for your life, but God’s plans are far greater than even your best thoughts and dreams. Thus, the Collect then has you ask God to pour his love into your heart. Why? So that you may fathom how great his love is for you. Only the one who loves you infinitely, knows you completely, and understands every detail of your future could orchestrate such glorious plans.
As the prayer continues, it reflects the natural and expected response to receiving the love and truth of God; that your heart would love him love him above every person and everything in this world and that you would desire him and all he has for you. This love for God leads to a transformation of your heart making it become more like the heart of God. The thoughts of God begin to fill your mind. And your Spirit can perceive his work in you, around you, and through you.
Wonderfully, God does not expect your intellect or your power to transform you. Instead, he has poured out his Holy Spirit to dwell in your heart. The Holy Spirit will surround and fill you with his love and help you “to love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Then not only can and will you know God’s love for you and reciprocate that love, but also you will experience the fullness of his promises to you – promises that surpass your understanding.
Do you know God’s perfect love for you? Do you then love him above all things in this world? And are you pressing into the Holy Spirit to guide you towards his plans for your life – the plans that surpass your understanding? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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