Whole Lotta Love

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:1-5

When I was in junior high school, the English rock band Led Zeppelin released their second album, which featured the song "Whole Lotta Love." Soon, this song was heard on transistor radios and at school dances everywhere, even though many Christians criticized it for its apparent sexual immorality. If I close my eyes, I can still hear the repetitive chorus ringing in my ears: "Wanna whole lotta love, wanna whole lotta love."

I doubt that Led Zeppelin was thinking of Ephesians 2:4 when they wrote "Whole Lotta Love." But, in fact, this title accurately captures the sense of the Greek original. As I noted in yesterday's reflection, a more literal translation of verse 4 would be: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us..." The word translated as "great" is a common Greek word that means "very many" or "very large." It isn't referring to the moral or aesthetic greatness of God's love, but rather to its extraordinary size. One might say that God has a "whole lotta love."

Yet, God's love is not of the Led Zeppelin variety. It is neither romantic love nor erotic love. The Greek language had words for this kind of love. Yet Ephesians 2:4 employs the word agape, which is a self-giving, sacrificial love. Agape seeks, not selfish pleasure, but rather whatever is best for the other person. According to Paul, God is filled with this kind of love for you and for me.

As human beings, we were created with the capacity to love and the desire to be loved. Because of sin, our God-given yearning for love can lead us down all sorts of dead end roads. We can seek love through promiscuity or popularity. We can be led to believe that we'll be loved if we are successful or wealthy. Yet, our search for a "whole lotta love" will never be fulfilled until we turn to the One who loves, not only the whole world, but also each and every one of us. The good news of Ephesians is that God has a "whole lotta love" for you.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways have you experienced God's love for you? In what ways would you like to know God's love more deeply? How would your life be different if you really believed that God had great love for you?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the wonderful affirmation of this verse. Thank you for being a God, not just of love, but of great love. Thank you for loving, not only the whole world, but me. Thank you for knowing me, cherishing me, seeking the best for me.

Help me, God of love, to live today in the embrace of your love. Help me to share this love with others wherever I am. Amen.

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