The experience of God means strength for action. Love is always expressed in living deeds; to experience God is to experience his power as living love. Liberation from all unjust, loveless, and self-willed activity releases an abundance of powers that overflow in fruitful works of love. We experience the love of God inwardly, but it manifests itself outwardly. The more our faith increases in knowledge, experience, and strength, the more we will be compelled to do the works of love (Eph. 4:13). To experience God is to be overpowered by love.
Today, the aftereffects of the Great War and the current state of society call for the kind of dedication that lives only in Christ – in the heart of the powerful God of Jesus Christ. Only a heart filled with the superior power of God’s love will be able to confront the pain and suffering around it. Only in the strength of an omnipotent God will we be able to carry the burden of historical responsibility laid on us, a burden beyond all human strength. The reign of God and the gospel of Christ will penetrate our devastated world only through love, which is paramount over every other power or force.
In the midst of the increasing violence, injustice, cruelty, and cold-heartedness of our time, love must be revealed: a love that towers above all earth’s mountains, that shines more purely and brightly than all the stars in the sky, that is mightier than all earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, that is greater than all world powers and rulers, that works more powerfully in history than all catastrophes, wars, and revolutions, that is more alive than all life and natural forces in creation. Above everything in nature and within all history, love shows itself to be the ultimate power of the Almighty, the ultimate greatness of his heart, the ultimate revelation of his spirit.
– Eberhard Arnold, Inwardness in a Distracted Age.
This text is based on Arnold’s Innerland: A Guide into the Heart of the Gospel, which is available as a free download through Plough Quarterly.