What is the most extravagant expression of love you have given or have witnessed another show? I posed this question to my family as we were traveling for spring break this week. I love the responses. My son spoke up first and said the movie “50 First Dates”, a romantic comedy where a man choses to love a woman who he has to remind is his wife every morning. Then my husband chimed in with “Team Hoyt” ; a father and his disabled son who did the ironman competition. Each of those examples of love expressed with visible selfless sacrifice is inspiring. I don’t know about you but they leave me feeling lacking in my own expression of love throughout my life. How about you?
This week we are reflecting on John 3:16-17 as we begin the Passion Week leading up to Easter Sunday. These verses carry a familiarity for most in the Christian faith, but John 3:17 has had less attention so I’d like us to reflect on theses verses as a pair to fully embrace their message of God’s love.
What comes to your mind when you think of God’s love? I find it difficult to put into words a worthy description 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 is a wonderful place to start: God is patient, kind, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, rejoices in truth, always perseveres and never fails. He truly is selfless and has our best interests in mind. He knows each of us even better than we know ourselves and expresses his love for us individually in unique ways. Much like how we express our love for our loved ones in unique ways based on our relationship and knowledge of their needs and desires.
Consider these thoughts of love. Love exists within each of us to be expressed and received within our relationships. Why, where, and how is love expressed? We express love because we have or desire a relationship with a person of value in our life. We seek to add value to the relationship by meeting a need or desire for the person or persons based on our observation. Then we act on our desire to express our love by doing what we have determined will best fill the need with our best intentions that requires some level of sacrifice. For God it was separation and the ultimate excruciating suffering of his one and only son. In “50 First Dates” it caused a very self absorbed man to chose to stop living his life for himself and live it for the woman he was going to date the rest of his life. Each placed the needs of another before their own.
Is love always received and perceived as it was lovingly expressed? Unfortunately no it is not because we live in a mixed up world. Have you ever tried to express love through action or words only to feel it was not received? I have and it didn’t feel very good.
I think of that sinking feeling when I reflect on John 3:16-17. These verses share God’s extravagant expression of love for the whole world with the purpose of bringing salvation, from the perishing of this sinful world, and eternal life in his kingdom. Only to have many refuse to receive the precious gift as it was intended; in love and free of judgment. So we aren’t the only ones who have experienced our expression of love rejected, God has too.
Why do people have difficulty receiving love? What does it mean to receive love? I think when we are on the receiving end of another persons love sometimes it is clouded by our life experiences, our beliefs, and our current emotional state. All of these things affect our ability to recognize a loving expression as one of love. We might have a clouded view and miss it completely. If we can’t recognize a loving sacrifice on our behalf we are unable to fully receive the love given.
My hope is that each of us can confidently say they have received the love of God through believing in his extravagant loving sacrifice. He gave his one and only son to meet the whole world’s need of redemption from the curse of sin. He sent his precious son to save the world by receiving the punishment of God for sin of the whole world on the cross as the atoning sacrifice done in love not condemning but reconciling the world to it’s creator. All God asks for is for us to receive his love by recognizing his son Jesus as our Savior so we can experience the intended benefits of relationship with him and eternal life. Let’s make this week one of expressing appreciation for our God’s extravagant love~ giving us his son Jesus Christ!
How are you preparing to celebrate Easter?
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”