Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Extravagant Love of God

Eph. 3:14-19, “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit – not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

What do these phrases mean to you?

• Glorious inner strength
• Extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love
• Reach out and experience the breadth
• Test its length
• Plumb the depths
• Rise to the heights
• Live full lives, full in the fullness of God

As I read these scriptures I was overwhelmed with how much God loves me. How much He loves you. It is not a surface love. It is a love that goes deep into our innermost being.

For some of us that might be hard to comprehend. For others we might have become accustomed to it and quite possibly might take this love for granted. I want us to honestly search our innermost being and try to grasp, just a little, of what Paul is trying to get us to understand. When we begin to grasp hold of this truth we will start developing the “glorious inner strength” Paul talks about.

The dimensions of Christ’s love spans every aspect of our lives: our self worth, our family relationships, our jobs, our leisure activities, our worship, our ministry, the list goes on, to whatever your life encompasses. Do we allow God to love us in every aspect of our lives, or do we only allow Him to love us in the areas we feel worthy for Him to love. Are we ashamed of some of the places of our lives? God wants to be a part of those places.

There is so much in these words! It can be overwhelming, especially if we do not understand fully who we are in Christ. There may be women, who are in ministry even, that have a low self worth. They may feel inadequate for what has been placed before them. There may be wives of pastors who have been beaten down with negative words from their congregations. These women are trying to do what God has called them to, but the congregations do not understand the precious gift God has given them in their pastors.

In the midst of all these circumstance God’s love is extravagant! I looked extravagant up on the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Here is what it means: exceeding the limits of reason or necessity, lacking in balance, moderation, or restraint, extremely or excessively elaborate, spending much more than necessary, (and I love this next one) extremely or unreasonably high in price. Wow! What higher price than Christ’s life?

God sees us, just where we are right now, and loves us. We may be hurting. We may feel dirty and used. We may wonder how we got to the place we are in now. Everything in our life may be going well. That is so wonderful. In each of these areas God’s love is great. We need not forget that.

Several years ago I got to a place in my life and ministry where I felt God had abandoned me. I allowed circumstances that happened in our church and life crowd out God’s love for me. Because of the circumstances I felt as if God didn’t love me. How could He let things happen to me that did if He loved me? Why wasn’t He helping me through all this instead of having everything taken away? I was allowing negative thoughts like this to crowd out God’s love. He didn’t abandon me. I was not thinking right. At that point in my life I was exhausted, hurt, and discouraged and not allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to me. The negative was speaking louder than the positive and I was listening.

It took several months for me to recover from all that. God loves us enough to place people in our lives to restore and strengthen us just when we need it most. That’s his extravagant love. He will never let us go. When we are hurting and don’t quite feel His love, He is there. He will not abandon us. HE LOVES US AND WILL GET US THROUGH THE TOUGH SITUATIONS WE ARE GOING THROUGH.

Again read what Paul is saying, “take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

Meditate on those words: breadth, plumb the depths, rise to the heights, live full. Wow. If we just grasp a little of what those words mean in our lives we would be awestruck. How magnificent is God. How amazing. Reach out to Him and allow Him to love you in your circumstances, at this point in your life. Close your eyes and imagine crawling up in His lap, allowing Him to speak into your life and strengthen your spirit.

The words to a song just popped into my mind…

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Oh how He loves.

So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

That he loves us,
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh, how He loves

View song on Youtube

1 comment:

LAURIE said...

Good Word tonight. Oh to comprehend the depth of His love...its hard to imagine but yet so inviting and so true. -blessings.