I've been thinking about the extravagance of God's love. The definition of extravagant is exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate; absurd. This truly describes the character of God's love. The bible says in 1 John 3:3, "Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us." Jesus lived and He died JUST for us. He suffered a horrific death so that we would have the free will to CHOOSE Him and experience His love. He continues to love us despite our outright rejection of Him. His love for us is absurd. It's unreasonable. It's downright inappropriate when compared to how love has been defined for us in this world.
I've been feeling a pull on my heart from God to learn to operate out of this extravagant love for those around me, especially my spouse. There are numerous ways of thinking that keep up us from loving extravagantly. A few I can think of are:
First, we fear loving people extravagantly because of the (likely) possibility of rejection. As a species, we tend not to tolerate rejection very well. We like when people receive us, especially when we our being vulnerable.
Second, we want people to earn love. We want their actions to warrant such extravagant love. It makes us feel like the scales are balanced. There are many reasons as to why. However, I believe God is challenging us to learn to love extravagantly. This is not an overnight process. I think it starts with your spouse. I think if we will learn to love our spouse extravagantly it will begin to ooze out into the other relationships we have.
So how do you love your spouse extravagantly? I've listed out several practical things I've been challenged to do:
1. Press in and draw close even if you're offended or hurt.
2. Choose to consistently see and acknowledge the best in your spouse even if they aren't showing it to you.
3. Find out your spouses love language (Read the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman) and be intentional about speaking/doing it.
4. Pray & Fast consistently for your spouse.
5. Put your spouse before yourself. Do what they want to do even if you don't want to do it.
6. Do the unreasonable stuff. Do the stuff that is extra. For example, take care of their chores one week or when they mention they're craving ice cream, without them asking, get in the car and go get some for them.
These are just a few and I'm sure you can think of your own ways to love your spouse extravagantly.
I'm sensing that as we learn to love this way, our marriages are going to grow like they never have before. I think the marriage we've dreamed of having is on the other side of learning extravagant love.