Love Extravagantly, Just Like Jesus

ADVENT ~ Day 14
December 13, 2008

Scripture Passage:
READ 1 John 3:11-18

Extravagant adj. - excessively high; exceeding the bounds of reason; going beyond what is deserved or justifiable

I'll make a list of God's gracious dealings, all the things God has done that need praising, All the generous bounties of God, his great goodness to the family of Israel— Compassion lavished, love extravagant. He said, "Without question these are my people, children who would never betray me." So he became their Savior. In all their troubles, he was troubled, too. He didn't send someone else to help them. He did it himself, in person. Out of his own love and pity he redeemed them. He rescued them and carried them along for a long, long time.
~ Isaiah 63:7-9 (The Message)

Our Father God's love for us is extravagant: excessively high, exceeding the bounds of reason and goes beyond what any of us could ever deserve.

He didn't pay for us with the fleeting, rotting, things of this world. No, instead He paid for us with His very life. Our Lord Jesus, left Heaven; willingly bound and limited Himself in human flesh, lived among us, ate with us, cried with us, felt hunger and pains He had never felt in Heaven. Our Lord Jesus chose to to put Himself in our place and sit with us in our troubles. Jesus did not come rescue us out of our troubles, for even we can do that for others. But He chose to sit in our troubles with us and felt our pain and suffering; then went far beyond, and suffered what we could never bear.

Often, we think the best way to intercede for others is to "fix" their problems. We think if we feed the hungry, clothe the poor, send money to dig wells to give drink to the thirsty we are sharing Christ's life and love with them. But are we? I say that we are not.

If we merely spare them or rescue them out of their troubles, while we sit in the comfort of our own homes; if we merely send money and sit quietly and pray; yet we do not physically go to sit in their troubles with them, then have we loved others as Christ has loved us - extravagantly? I say we have not.

Let us do all these good things, but let us not neglect to go to the hungry, go to the poor, go to the thirsty and be the hands of feet of Christ by touching them, like He touched us. When you feed the hungry, give them a hug - a long, tight, Christ-loving hug. Then tell them the Good News of Christ. If you feed them without preaching the Gospel, then you have merely "rescued" them from their physical pains, but have left their souls just as hungry and destitute as it was before. Therefore, you have accomplished nothing. The hungry are not surprised anymore if someone feeds them, no they expect it. But they are surprised when you sit with them, when you hold them and stay by their side while they eat. No one but Jesus would do that. We say, "But they really smell bad." This is true, but you know what? Our sins are like the stench of a cesspool in the nostrils of our holy God and He touched us, kissed us and held us anyway.

We so often think we have to go to some foreign land to be the hands and feet of Jesus. But look all around you. As Jesus said, we will always have the poor and hungry all around us; and we do.

There are plenty around here who are thirsty, and there are plenty here in America who are naked and who are need of the physical touch of Christ Jesus our Lord. And there are plenty of lost souls here in America that desperately need disciples of Christ to feed, give drink and clothe their cold, naked, hungry, thirsty dead souls.

So if you want to pray for someone, go to them and pray for them. Go to the abortion clinics and offer prayer to those who are there. Take Gospel tracts with you that do not water down God's truth, but opens their eyes to expose that they are sinners in desperate need of a Savior.

If we're going to do "good", then we must do it like Jesus, for we know, that no one is good, but God. Therefore, if we do "good" deeds, but not in the name of Jesus (meaning in His likeness, with His character), then we are not doing "good", but only something that might seem "nice". For if God alone is good, anything absent of God is absent of good.

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
~ Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message)

Thought to ponder:

Gracious Lord God in Heaven, thank You for Your extravagant love poured out on us! Thank You for despising us not, but loving us still. Teach us Father to love like you; without ceasing and without judgment or personal cares. Teach us Father to give our lives away, just the way Jesus did. As we come closer to celebrating the first coming of Your Son, Father, help us to remember why He came and how He came; and send us out with His heart.

May You be well pleased with our offering of extravagant love for You, as we love others extravagantly in Your Name. Amen