At our wedding, my good friend Kathy and her husband Ben sang a song during our time of communion called “Your Love is Extravagant” by Darrell Evans. I first discovered this song back in the late 90s when I attended a Passion Conference and picked up a journal called “Thirsty” which was a devotional guide with a CD of worship songs to go along with the daily devotions.
This is a beautiful song, and because we know from the Bible that God created marriage as a picture of Christ’s love and redemption of his church, Brian and I found this song about intimate, intoxicating and extravagant love appropriate to accompany our first time of communion as husband and wife.
Fast forward to today. As I have been studying about the names of God, about the Grace of God, and studying Romans, I have been thinking a lot about my life and my walk with the Lord. Ive examined my life and God is opening my eyes to sins, shortcomings and failures I have never realized I had within me. Earlier this week in a Global Impact Coordinators meeting, we were discussing God’s holiness, and I found myself SO extremely frustrated that God asks us to “be holy as He is holy” yet we can NEVER be holy. So why does he ask us to strive to be something we can never be in our sinful state?
Then on Wednesday in my “Lord I Need Grace to Make It” study at church, God began to open my eyes to the truths of grace. He is helping me understand that, when man first sinned (Adam and Eve), human-kind made a choice to cross the line of holiness God put in place in the Garden of Eden. Man crossed the line of holiness into sin and unrighteousness by choosing to follow his own way BUT God, merciful, loving, and compassionate, reached out to us, through Christ, and made a way for us to cross back over the line of holiness into righteousness, but ONLY through Christ. We are saved by GRACE through FAITH in Christ Jesus, its is the gift of God, not achieved by works so that no man can boast. (Ephesians 2)
So its is GRACE and FAITH alone that we can be holy and be made right with God. I can’t achieve holiness or right standing with God on my own. Its impossible. I have to trust Christ to achieve it for me. BUT- is this a license to sin freely – NO! What I realized this morning is that, while I can never stop sinning, I can do all that I can in my power to not sin. I have choices, just like Adam and Eve had choices, and while the choices I make will never affect my eternal security(because I already made the choice to follow Christ), they do come with consequences, both good and bad.
A new friend and I were talking about life yesterday afternoon, and she encouraged me that when I have done everything I can, continue to stand firm. STAND FIRM! Why? Because of Holiness. Because of Grace. Check out what the Bible says about standing firm:
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
2 Corinthians 1:21
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.
[ Freedom in Christ ] It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
So what does standing firm have to do with extravagant love, you ask? It is by God’s extravagant love for me that I am able to stand. I cannot stand apart from him. And even despite my sin, my failures, and short comings, and even in some cases my unwillingness to repent from certain things, his love is still extravagant and it NEVER fails me.
As I was journaling this morning, I became so acutely aware of things in my life that displease the Lord and I was literally OVERWHELMED in that I know I can’t stop it all, or fix it all, or change everything right now as I am realizing these things. And thats when God’s whispered Grace to me, and the words of this beautiful song from our wedding, words that paint pictures of Christ’s love for his bride, the church, came rushing to my mind.
Your love is extravagant
Your friendship intimate
I find I’m moving
To the rhythms of Your grace
Your fragrance is intoxicating
In our secret place
Your love is extravagant
Spread wide in the arms of Christ
Is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known
You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again
Deeper than the deepest ocean
Your love is
Higher than the highest mountain
Reaches higher than the Heavens
Still it finds its way to me
Finds its way to me
And you’re patient Lord
And you’re kind with me
And though I’m failing you at times
You’re love HAS NEVER FAILED ME!
Your love is extravagant