Focus 40 Day 1: Extreme living through love
Payer Focus: Pray to develop biblical love – 1 Cor. 13:4-8
Extreme Living through Love
THE VALUE, WE IDENTIFY AS “LOVE,” is based on the Great Commandments Jesus gave in Mark 12:30–31. The greatest commandment we have been given is to love God, and the second is to love others. This year as we fo-cus on obeying the Great Commandments, we want to obey them, not through a life marked by the status quo, but instead through a life of extreme living.
“Extreme living through love.” What goes through your mind as you read this? Maybe you are thinking, “This sounds excit-ing. I want to experience it.” Maybe you are thinking, “This sounds good for others, but it is not for me. This is not who I am.” What we believe, what we decide, how we live our lives, and the outcomes all start with our mindset. The critical questions are, “Have I set my mind in alignment with the mind of Christ?” and “Have I been made new in the attitude of my mind?”(Eph 4:22–24).
Jesus set his mind to obey the will of the Father. The will of the Father was to pour out his love to the world through the sacri-fice of his own Son (John 3:16). Jesus poured out his extreme love for the Father through obedience to his will. Jesus’ love was fleshed out in extreme living in order that we might experience his reconciling love for us. His love then became the headwaters of love that flows through us (1 John 4:19).
Therefore, since our source of love is the same love that empowered Jesus to flesh out extreme living, likewise our lives should re-sult in extreme living. We were commanded to release this love when Jesus commanded us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and with all our strength (Mark 12:30), and also when he commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). The power of this love in its fullness cannot re-main dormant in a vessel. In its fullness, it is uncontainable and becomes the driving force that thrusts us into expressing this love to God and to others through extreme living. Our passion, our focus, our words, and our deeds will all take on a form of ex-treme living in comparison to the status quo. This mindset must be intentionally embraced before it can ever become a heart posture and lifestyle.
So how does one start? Start where you are. Assess what could be a slightly extreme gesture of love for you to express. Reach and walk in that direction. Soon that action will no longer be extreme, but it will become the norm for you. As you continue to reach and stretch, you will increase your impact of love on the world around you. It is a journey that is day by day, hour by hour, decision by decision, and action by action.
The potential of God’s sacrificial and transformational love resides in you. Ex-treme living through love is possible. Change your mind, change your heart, change your life, and you will change the world around you. Extreme living through love. This is the new you if you set your mind to it!
Rev. Judy Weeks
Love and Reach Transformation Team Leader and Pastor