May we live boldly for Christ until we reach our true home.
A dear friend of mine wrote this statement in a book she gave me last year. So many times my mind replays these words. Live boldly for Christ. This unrelenting statement has led me on a quest to determine how I can live it out.
But how do I do that? How do I live boldly for God without being weird, religious, arrogant, or isolating myself from the world? There are so many things in our culture that can keep the most dedicated Christ follower from boldly living for Jesus with a tender, loving, and compassionate heart toward others.
As I pondered this one day, the Lord reminded me of my mother. She lived a bold, authentic faith before her family, friends, and strangers. Her love for Jesus Christ and for people was unmistakable. She was a humble servant who loved well and, through that love, lived her life boldly for Christ.
The Lord then guided me to Max Lucado’s book, A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God’s Love. The subtitle jumped right off the cover of that book for me. That’s it—that’s how I can live boldly for Christ until I reach heaven, my true home!
The power to living boldly for Christ is to live in the overflow of God’s love.
But this led me to more questions. How do I do this? How do I live in the overflow of God’s love? How do I soak in it? How do I dive deep into the overflow of God’s love?
First, we must know that we are loved extravagantly by God. First John 4:19 NKJV says: “We love Him because He first loved us.” We cannot give or offer something we do not have. We can only be filled with His love as we come to Jesus, receiving and admitting that we need more of His love in our lives.
Do you realize how much God loves you? Do you know that nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38–39)? Your performance is not what attracts Him. He simply chooses to love you. We may never grasp the true depth, length, width, or height of God’s love, but I do believe we can enjoy greater measures of this understanding as we pursue Him daily.
The more we understand His love, the more we realize His love is for all mankind. What did Jesus do when He lived on this earth? He purposely and boldly sought out the broken, the lonely, the grief stricken, the ignored, and the discarded. His actions toward broken humanity demonstrate this unconditional love. And the ultimate demonstration of His love came at the cross (Romans 5:8). When we receive God’s love with no strings attached; when we believe that He loves us unconditionally, passionately, and powerfully like no human being ever could, that’s when we can love others as Jesus does.
How did Jesus have the strength to live such a bold, world-changing love? It was through the power of His Father working through Him. Acts 10:38 says that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” Everywhere Jesus went, He loved fully through the power of God working through Him.
The next step to living boldly for Christ is learning to love through the power of God. We cannot love in our own strength. Only God can give us the strength to love those around us, even difficult people. What does this love look like? First Corinthians 13: 4–8 describes the incredible, extravagant love of Christ. As you read this passage, insert the name of Jesus everywhere you see the word love.
Love [Jesus] is patient and kind. [Jesus] is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. [Jesus] does not demand [His] own way. [Jesus] is not irritable, and [He] keeps no record of being wronged. [Jesus] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. [Jesus] never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But [Jesus] will last forever!
Love is who Jesus is, and love is who we are to be. We are to be a demonstration of God’s love to others. How will we know when we are operating in this power? Well, our lives will look like Galatians 5:22 TPT:
The fruit of the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its various expressions. This love is revealed through: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness on display, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.
It may sound impossible to live a life like this, but it’s not. God’s Spirit operating in us will reveal a life, a love, like the one above.
Will loving others always be easy? Of course not. But reading and meditating daily on the Word of God and keeping our eyes on Him will enable us to live out His extravagant love. His Word changes us from the inside out, and it empowers us to lay aside our flesh so we can put others first.
Here’s a tip. When you are tempted to be unloving, stop, drop, and pray! Stop what you are doing, drop the offense, and pray: “Jesus, Your love has been poured out within me by Your Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). I choose to release Your love to this person and offer them the same love You offer me” (1 Corinthians 13: 4–8).
The Holy Spirit will help you love. God’s love has been poured into you by the Holy Spirit; it’s not been sprinkled or dripped. He has poured His love into your innermost being! Now it’s up to you to give Him permission to flush out every bit of unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, stubbornness, or anything else keeping you in bondage. It’s a daily decision to give Him your heart so He can search it and show you if there is anything wicked lurking around. When He does, then you can repent and release it (Psalm 139:23–24).
It is only when we live in the overflow of God’s love, rely on His power, and allow the Holy Spirit to produce godly fruit in our lives that we will be able to live our lives boldly for Him. And bold lives change the world!
Written by Linda Cubbedge
Photo by Mayur Gala