Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 Jn 3:1)
TAKE NOTICE, GAZE WITH WONDER and ASTONISHMENT that God could love us in this manner and degree! We are not deserving of this type of extravagant love. So how could He?
I don’t know. Except that He created us for a love relationship with Him. Sending His Son to restore that relationship is undeniable proof of His exorbitant love for mankind.
If we accept this baffling yet wonderful truth, our only appropriate response would be one of utter worship and gratitude. Pondering such extravagant love would radically change our lives and enable us to fulfill the greatest commandment of loving God in return.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mk 12:30)
The Greek word used for love here is agape, which is a selfless, unconditional, sacrificial, and an act of the will type of love. Agape love is how God loves us and desires to be loved in return. It’s an extravagant love.
The dictionary defines extravagant as spending much more than is necessary or wise; excessively high; exceeding the bounds of reason; going beyond what is deserved or justifiable.
If you’re sold out to Christ, you may have some people around you who say, “Aren’t you taking this ‘Jesus stuff’ a little too far?” They think you’re crazy.
But in the biblical way of thinking, that definition is the perfect way to look at what our love should be for an infinite God. He is beyond measure in every respect. He deserves to be loved without bounds.
What does loving God extravagantly look like?
It’s loving God with our entire being, submitting every aspect of our existence to His control. Our:
- Heart (emotions, passions, desires, motivations)
- Soul (personality, temperament, spirit—that immaterial part of us)
- Mind (thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, memory, imagination, intelligence)
- Strength (physical energy and non-physical energy—our will)
It’s putting God first before all and above all.
It’s giving up whatever He asks of us, no matter the cost—looking at every difficult situation as an opportunity to sacrificially love Him in return.
It’s obeying Him all the time—and repenting when we don’t. No matter the conditions in which we find ourselves, no matter whether we understand or not, no matter whether we like it or not—we obey willingly.
It’s accepting God’s will with joy. Even if it takes us a while to get there, we are to work toward that end.
It’s choosing God’s way even when we don’t feel warm affection toward Him.
It’s attempting to love God in the same manner as He loved us—sacrificially, selflessly, unconditionally, and willingly. While it isn’t possible to love God to the same degree or extent that He loves us we can at least attempt to love Him in the same way.
We have good examples of extravagant lovers in the Bible:
- Abraham, willing to sacrifice the son of promise (Gen 22:1-18)
- Mary, the mother of Jesus (Lk 1:38)
- Ill repute women who anointed Jesus with expensive oil (Mat 26:6-13; Luke 7:6-13)
- Paul, the apostle (Phil 1:20-21)
There are many others. The question now becomes:
Will you and I be among them?
We have extravagant dinners on Thanksgiving, over-the-top Christmas decorations. We give lavish gifts to the ones we love. This Thanksgiving, out of our gratitude, let us extravagantly love Jesus Christ, the extravagant Lover of our souls!
Scripture taken from New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.