Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

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John 14:18-25, Colossians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:8-12

Scripture Reading: John 14:18-25, Colossians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:8-12

What is the greatest love of your life? I know it sounds ridiculous, but I have a white Great Dane named Bess who is pretty high in the love rankings for me. We are in tune to each other without using words, and our mutual love is as steady as a slow walk in a long field. My husband is probably my greatest love—he still looks at me with love in his eyes, after eighteen years, even when I’m my worst combination of bossy and lazy. There’s also my children, who have awakened a love in me that makes me feel like a mighty grizzly bear. And there are also a handful of beloved women in my life, just a few, who have invited me into a community of virtue and laughter that I can’t find anywhere else in the world. We have a lot of chances for great love, and the love of my Great Dane is not, in fact, the least among these.

We are transformed in small ways by all our loves. Because of Bess, I am defenseless against the sweetness of a soft pink muzzle. Because of my children, I am brave. Because of my husband, I am at peace. Because of my dear friends, I am wise. Love transforms us. I’m sure you are similarly transformed by the loves in your life. But the most profound transformation comes from the love of Christ. This divine love excels all other loves. Where my dog and my husband fail me, Christ’s love stretches as far as the east is from the west.

How are we transformed by Christ’s love? First, we are transformed from death to life. Jesus promised, “Because I live, you will live too” (John 14:19). A life without Christ is a life of death and ashes; His love transforms these bodies of death to vessels of life. It is a complete transformation that we cannot affect with our own power.

Finish then Thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
perfectly restored in Thee.

It is God’s divine love and mercy that have the power to change us, to bring us from death to life in Him, affecting our lives in profound ways, now and forever. We are loved by the Father and equipped by the Holy Spirit, enabling us to keep God’s commands. Jesus will reveal Himself to us, we will keep His Word, and we will be at home with Him (John 14:21–23). We are fundamentally changed when Christ loves us.

We are also transformed by His love because we are reconciled to Him. Apart from His love, we are forever doomed to run in circles chasing our sin. When we are transformed by His love, He lifts us off the merry-go-round of sin and reconciles us to Himself. He transforms us from dirty to clean, from darkness to light.

Once [we] were alienated and hostile in [our] minds expressed in [our] evil actions.
But now he has reconciled [us] by his physical body through his death,
to present [us] holy, faultless, and blameless before him (Colossians 1:21-22).

I want to be presented before God as holy, faultless, and blameless! What a wonderful mystery of the gospel that I can be transformed from a lost sinner to someone who is holy and blameless!

Finally, Christ’s love transforms us by giving us “confident access” to Himself (Ephesians 3:12). Our access to God is a hard-won privilege, given to us by Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross. Because of Christ, we can run to our Father in prayer, and depend on Him for comfort in every circumstance. And because of Christ’s love, His loving Spirit breathes transforming comfort “into ev’ry troubled breast.”


Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Text: Charles Wesley, 1747

Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
fix in us Thy humble dwelling;
all Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion;
pure, unbounded love Thou art;
visit us with Thy salvation;
enter ev’ry trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
into ev’ry troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all Thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish then Thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see Thy great salvation
perfectly restored in Thee.
Changed from glory into glory,
till in heav’n we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before Thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise


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19 thoughts on "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"

  1. Peggy Lester says:

    I need this reminder of the real source of love that I need to run to. It is so easy to lose that focus then lose my way and chase the bunnies that leave you empty and broken. I needed the reminder to look around me today and see all the reminders of God’s love for me that he has graced my life with! Breathe on me anew, Heavenly Father!

  2. Kelly Sienicki says:

    Breathe, oh breathe Thy loving Spirit.
    Trying to be a Christian that tells the story of Jesus beginning in Genesis 1.
    We were formed and God breathed life into us.
    Genesis 3 is extremely important but the story starts at Genesis 1.

    1. Dorothy says:

      Kelly you are so right

  3. Lisa says:

    There’s is a recurring theme in my heart this week, and it is this: unfailing, overwhelming, never ending LOVE of God. I’m hearing it in my head, I’m reading it in my quiet time and I’m even seeing it here and there in social media. Meanwhile, the enemy has launched a full attack: relationships are in his sights, and dear friends who shared their testimonies last weekend are getting pounded. But God is greater than our enemy. “Because of Christ and our faith in him we can come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” (Eph 4:12, NLT).

  4. Regine says:

    Love it! Love transforms us. But the most profound transformation comes from the love of Christ. I am in a season where I love a lot and sometimes wonder how many people can be in my heart at once. (And I don’t even have a boyfriend/husband or kids!) I know it transforms me. But without being first loved by Jesus I wouldn’t be able to love anyone the way I do. Without his love I’m spiritually dead.

    1. Dorothy says:

      I never even thought of it that way thanks for the insight Regine. God bless

  5. Stephanie says:

    “Take away the love of sinning.” Whoooo, if that doesn’t just call it what it is! Lord, hear that prayer.

      1. Kate says:

        That line stood out to me too! I was thinking about how sin leads to death and how Jesus told us to “Sin not.” The Lord knows that our sinful choices lead us to death, and I loved the simplicity of this line in the song…”Take away the love of sinning.” Oh how our flesh loves to sin! May he finish His good work in us!

  6. Lynn Johnson says:

    Just Breathe. May He be our breath today…and always!

    1. Dorothy says:


  7. Dorothy says:

    Just before reading today’s devotional, my future daughter-in-law came to get my car so she could go be with her father who is at the hospital in critical condition. He is on life support. They had to do surgery which has started to help. They are going to do trails of getting him off of the ventilator today. Please pray for the family. I know that God’s will will be done as far as her dad.
    After reading “Breathe, o breathe thy loving Spirit into every troubled breast; let us all in Thee inherit let us find the promise rest.” This spoke to me in that right now I am struggling with emotional and spiritual ups and downs. My depression has hit an all time high, last time I remember being this down is soon after my son died — only it was worse then. I have gotten so bad that my daily devotionals I would do I stopped doing. All I wanted to do is go to work, eat (not even healthy or enough), sleep and watch TV. I had already planned on doing this study anyway and I decided to go ahead and do it because I know you my sisters will help me get back on the path I need to be on. Little did I know each hymn I would read and each reading would also help we greatly. God has blessed with some wonderful Christian sisters, She Reads Truth, and a country that allows to be able to know the Lord.

    1. PamC says:

      Dorothy, depression is the stone around my neck as well. I was praying for you (& your future daughter-in-law) and was having trouble finding words to send you when in another devotional this verse came up. Romans 15:13. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of The Holy Spirit. This is what I pray for all of us today.

      1. Kimberly says:

        Amen, Pam. I pray that verse over both of you right now!

      2. Dorothy says:

        Amen and thank you sister I will write that verse down

  8. Churchmouse says:

    Hostile in my mind.
    Evil deeds.
    Me. Once upon a time.
    That was then.
    Blameless before Him.
    Me. Forever.
    This is now.
    May I “remain grounded and steadfast in the faith” .

    1. Dorothy says:


      1. Carol M says:

        LOVE THIS!! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Kristen says:

    Like she said above, he fails her and so does the dog. God’s love never fails. He works all things together for our good, and He’s not fickle. He is a good God that doesn’t leave or forsake us!