December 2018 / January 2019 - Vol. 101
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Responding to The Lavish Love of God  
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by Tom Caballes

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
" 1 John 3:1-2 NIV

Have you received an unwarranted costly gift from someone? You must have felt very important when you received that gift. But you know what? All of us have been given a very special gift Ė the love of God in Jesus Christ. Godís love for us is lavish and extravagant. We are overflowing by Godís love, limited only by His desire to keep our free will. God does not penny-pinch when He loves us; He goes all the way; He gave His one and only Son for us so we can one day share His life forever. God also sent His Spirit to us so we can live a life full of His grace Ė see John 10:10. Donít you feel grand, knowing that the Creator of all things loves you so lavishly? You and I are truly special. Let these thoughts sink into your heart and mind.

So How Do We Respond to the Lavish Love of God?   

  1. Gratitude is the first right response! When God gives us unmerited grace, we should thank Him and worship Him. Worship is an appropriate response to God, because of who He is and who we are. Gratitude should primarily characterise our relationship with God, and not our needs, petitions, or anything else.
  2. We can respond to Godís lavish love by loving Him and surrendering our lives fully to Him. ďYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.Ē (Matthew 22:37 ESV) We should imitate Godís love for us by loving God lavishly in return. We should not be stingy in loving God; that is not a just response to Godís extravagant love. We need to give our hearts and minds to Him fully, not just when it is convenient for us or when we feel like doing so. No ifs or buts. Itís all or nothing.
  3. We should try to imitate Godís lavish love as we love others as well. When we love others, we should try not be calculated nor limited; we should lay our lives for one another, just as Jesus laid His life for us. It is hard and inconvenient, but Jesus already set the standard for us in loving others. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34 ESV) When we fail to love others like Jesus, we should ask God to love others as He does.
  4. Just as God has forgiven your sins, forgive others from the heart as well. Live a life of freedom from anger or resentments. Whenever you remember or feel the hurt or pain you experienced in the past, remember, too, your worst sins before God Ė and how He has forgiven you.
  5. Give God the full control of your resources Ė time, talents, and finances. Learn to trust Him. Let Jesus be the Lord of all of your life, not just the easy or convenient parts of your life; Seek Godís will on how to use all your God-given resources so you can give Him glory. He can manage your life better than you can.
  6. Share that lavish love of God to others Ė the more we share that extravagant love of God, the more we experience that love. 2 Timothy 4:2 encourages us to preach the word in season or out of season.
  7. Anticipate the best that is to come. Godís lavish love for you will only be fully unraveled when you meet Him face to face, and then you will be invited to the eternal party, the banquet prepared by God for all those who followed Him. Let nothing separate you from what is to come; it is worth the wait!
Other Scripture passages:
  1. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 ESV)
  2. Öbut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)
  3. Other Bible verses: John 3:16; John 15:9; Ephesians 1:3-14, 2:4-5; 1 John 4:9-11 and Romans 8:1-39. 
 
For personal reflection or group sharing
  • Is your relationship with God primarily based on gratitude and thanksgiving, not on your needs?
  • When you recall past hurts, how big and how frequent are your sins that God has forgiven you?
  • When times are challenging, do you remember the lavish love of God for you?
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.

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