"Watch what God does and then do it...keep company with Him and learn a life of love! Observe how Christ loved us - His love was not cautious, but EXTRAVAGANT. He didn't live in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that!"
~Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG)
His love is NOT cautious... not fearful, not prudent, not timid, not lacking in boldness, not unadventurous, not safe, not guarded.
His love IS extravagant...spending much more than is necessary or wise, exceedingly high, going beyond what is deserved or necessary, exceeding the bounds of reason.
Aaaah... what does that mean?? His love was costly, crazy, expensive, outrageous, nonsensical, extreme, daring, adventurous, bold! As imitators of Him--we are told to love like that!!
I think we are too cautious with how we love each other. . . I think that in our 15, 20, 35, 50, 80 years of life we have either felt personally or seen others experience heartbreak and we want to avoid that at all costs. We are taught to take care of ourselves- to be careful with who we give our hearts to and how much we give them and when to stop giving and when we need to hold onto the love for ourselves and yadda yadda yadda. That's a lot of caution. We are warned not to give too much of ourselves to people--especially without the assurance that they will in turn give themselves to us. Even if the words are not spoken in this exact way, I feel like we're told to keep our hearts in a box and wait until someone really determined comes in with a magic key to open the box and then, only then, they deserve our love. Maybe hand out teeny pieces to people, but never give the whole package--never love with everything we have because then we would run out of love and our hearts would crumble, right?
So why did He lavish His love on us? Why did He give it in excess? Why would He not just give us enough to get by? He loves us extravagantly because He wants us to love others with the love we've received and continue to receive from Him... He wants us to love each other DEEPLY, excessively, extravagantly because that is how He loves and He wants us to learn to love in the same way. In a way that doesn't make sense... doesn't correspond with how much the person presumably deserves... is costly!
We have all sung the song 'Hosanna' and probably really asked God to do what the lyrics say:
"break my heart for what breaks Yours"
I am just now getting an idea of what that means... It is BIG! Don't ask for it unless you truly want to learn to live a life of extravagant love like He so marvelously displays for us.
Broken hearts come from what? LOVE... letting our hearts love-unguarded, reckless, bold hearts aimed at loving, LIVING a life of love, with every fiber of our being. We ask for broken hearts, but do we really want that? Who, in their right mind, ASKS for that? . . . . . maybe someone who believes wholeheartedly that He continues to pour out His extravagant love on us so that we can share it with others and we don't run out.
Love is risky. It is taxing and it is big and it is bold and it is IMPOSSIBLE without daily receiving His great love for us. If we really want to love like He loves, we cannot expect to be protected from the heartbreak, the pain of sharing His heart for the people on this earth. He absolutely will break our hearts for what breaks His hearts if we are surrendered to Him to daily imitate the kind of love He gives.
It is painful--I can attest to that. Over the past couple of years, He has given me His heart for people, children who are experiencing the poverty of feeling unloved. The orphans who are going to bed tonight with no one to tuck them in and whisper love into their ears. The little girls who are being raped over and over and over again because her parents thought that a handful of rupees was worth more than the precious child of God whose name is inscribed on the palm of His hand! The kids who are alone on the streets, sniffing glue not because it's cool to get high but because it stifles the hunger they're experiencing and helps them to forget about how miserable they are. Those same kids who do not have family scouring the streets, putting up signs (like we do when even our dogs go missing), appearing on any news station who will listen, offering hefty rewards longing to be reunited with the child God knit in their womb. Broken hearts for the people of His kingdom are not necessarily enjoyable, but they're raw. They're real... to feel so in tune with God that your heart can literally feel the pain Jesus felt that led Him to love the orphans and widows and sick and hungry and overlooked as extravagantly as He did. To get a taste of why He came to this earth and gave us an example of LIVING a life of love... I truly believe He longs for us to hand our hearts to people, knowing that it's a dangerous move but silencing the caution that tries to stop us.
Alright. So what about "guarding our hearts"? What about all of the people who will use Proverbs 4:23 out of context to tell us that "guard your heart" means "don't get hurt!" What about the counsel of others that advises that we love ourselves first and then if we have anything left over we can give it to others. What does that say about the love offered by the Most High? It's not enough? It's possible to outdo Him in love? To run out? Do we really believe He will punish us for attempting to imitate His extravagant love? If we do.. do we really know His character? Proverbs 4:23 is referring to guarding our hearts from wickedness, not suffering.
C.S. Lewis writes: "Of all arguments against love, none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as 'Careful! This might lead you to suffering.'If I am sure of anything, I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities...
there is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness."
Guarding our hearts does not equate to avoiding heartbreak at all costs... He lets us be adventurous in love!! He gives us more than enough so we can pour it out in excess... so we can love people when it doesn't make sense... so we can be justice through His love! There is no fear in love--no fear of someone not accepting the love how we want them to, no fear of the person not returning the love, no fear of being hurt in the process.
Broken hearts for His kingdom do not leave us crumbled and crippled on the floor... they lead us to the same kind of excessive love He is famous for. The love that gets us on our face, begging for Him to use us to love whoever and however He chooses! It leads us to action--to live in the same love that He is famous for!!! To pour our hearts out because no matter the cost-even complete and utter heartbreak-we are getting a look inside the heart of a King, absolutely crazy about His people!