The Bible tells us that God is love. So when we’re in God’s presence, we’re in the presence of love. His love for us is unchanging, never failing, unconditional. We’re told that God lavishes His love on us. ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3:1 NIV). And His love shapes who we are, and how we act. It helps us to love others, just as we’re called to do. ‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love’ (1 John 4:8 NIV).
In 1 Corinthians 13, we’re called to ‘love extravagantly’ (MSG), and that can seem like a pretty big challenge. Some people seem to be hard to love at all, let alone extravagantly. We can feel like we don’t want to go above and beyond in our love for others. We don’t want to make sacrifices and put others first. We struggle to forgive and we struggle to be patient. We lack grace and gentleness in our relationships. But we’re called to love everyone. And when we experience and begin to understand God’s incredible, unchanging love for us, we can’t help but share that love with others.
When we think about it, God’s love is extravagant. It doesn’t change, no matter what we do. It’s always there. But it goes beyond that. God’s shown us the ultimate act of extravagant love.
‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.’
(1 John 3:16 NIV)
God loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son to save us all. Jesus took our place on the cross. He took our sin, and all the sin that’s to come. And because of that, we’re reunited with God. We can have a relationship with Him. We can have a relationship with love. It takes a while to get your head around that. We’re loved so much that Jesus would die for us. God desperately wanted to save you, me, all of us.
We can get so caught up in everyday life, the busyness, the deadlines, the serving, the socialising, that we barely stop and remember that incredible sacrifice. But when we take a minute, whether it’s over this Eastertime or in the middle of a random day, to pause and consider that sacrifice and how it’s saved us, it can take our breath away. We realise how loved we are. We realise how much God wanted us to be part of His plan. We realise how amazing God’s love is. And we’re refuelled to share that love with others. Not just love; God’s extravagant love.