Extreme Love, Extreme Living
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.— 1 Peter 4:8 Extreme love. Love so great that it makes up for not just a few sins—but a multitude! And you know, we are not forced to live in this extreme stratosphere of love. We are invited.
Jesus initiated extreme love. First He taught His followers, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15: 13); then He did it. As He hung on the cross, He had few friends left to witness His suffering. But He hung there anyway. He died for his friends, and for those who hated Him, who misunderstood His purpose, and who were lost in sin and hardness of heart. “While we were still sinners,” He died for us, so that we can know love. We are invited to experience it, to live it, to demonstrate it in our own lives.
Love is the most potent emotion and power in all of creation. Love motivated Creation, forgiveness, redemption, and eternal life for mankind. Abundant love, when accepted gratefully, gives us abundant lives, full of purpose, meaning, sacrifice, and ultimate love.
Hebrews chapter eleven is a partial list of daring individuals who chose to live in extreme love. They are as varied a group of people as you will ever encounter, and they laid the foundation for our faith. They were judges and farmers, rulers and prostitutes, prophets and parents.
They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of flames, escaped the edge of the sword; their weaknesses were turned to strength; they fought battles, and saw their dead raised to life. Some were tortured, some faced jeers and flogging, others were chained in prison. They were stoned; they were tortured; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. They lived in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. They were commended for their faith...and God declared that the world was not worthy of them.
Now that’s extreme living.
“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” —Amy Carmichael