My husband and I regularly enjoy exchanging stories about our days as student-athletes, when the echo of bouncing basketballs, wooden gym floors and screeching sneakers filled up much of our spare time. One of my husband’s favorite stories involves a pep talk given by his junior varsity high school coach, where he would instruct the team to play with “reckless abandon.” It became an inside joke in our family and on occasion we would comically tell our sons, who also love to play the sport, to get out there and play with “reckless abandon.” But when our sons went through a season where they lacked the grit and heart needed to achieve success on the court, this statement started to take on a more serious tone. We explained to them that “reckless” meant to do whatever it takes to win the ball and help their team score; “abandon” meant to pour every ounce of energy on the court and walk away knowing there was nothing more they could have contributed to the game.
As I later pondered our explanation to our sons, I realized that “reckless abandon” more accurately describes what Jesus did on the cross. In his reckless love he sacrificed his body for us so that we could experience the victory of salvation. He abandoned all the comforts of Heaven to come to a broken world and help us succeed in the “game” of life. The Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 NIV). Jesus came to sacrifice his unblemished life for us, fully aware we were fractured by evil and thus might choose to reject his offer of grace and forgiveness. In Romans 5:6-8 NIV, the Apostle Paul writes...
“...at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners [emphasis added], Christ died for us.”
Pause for a moment and take in the gravity of Christ loving you so radically that he traded the indescribable comforts of Heaven to pursue you. As you reflect, write down anything Holy Spirit may bring to mind.
Romans 8:38 NIV sheds further light on God’s relentless love for us:
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God will allow nothing to separate you from his passionate love. What does this mean you must be worth to him?
The value of something depends on what someone is willing to pay for it. 1 Corinthians 7:23 tells us that you were bought and paid for with the price of Christ’s life. Your worth to God, the maker of Heaven and Earth, is boundless! He is recklessly, hopelessly and relentlessly in love with...you!
Pause and take in the gravity of your worth to God.
But why would almighty God be mindful enough of you and me to love us with this kind of reckless abandon?
Because we are his creation, made to reflect his glory. And since “God is love” (1 John 4:8 NIV), it would be preposterous to think that he would not love his own creation. Consider my crafty six-year-old daughter, who takes tremendous pride in her artistic creations. When she completes one she often comes running in excitement to share it with me, jumping up and down as she describes the details of her work. She loves her creations so much that I often find her sleeping with them next to her at night.
I have to believe this is but a faint echo of the way God feels about you - his creation! He’s enthralled with you. His heart jumps with excitement when you turn your attention toward him. No matter how anyone else views you, he thinks you are stunning, a work of art, his masterpiece! Psalm 139:14-16 MSG says...
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration— what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Imagine, the one who formed the most distant stars and galaxies knows every detail about you. He says you are “marvelously made!” You are “God's [own] handiwork (his workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew]” (Ephesians 2:10 AMP).
Now, all you have to do is receive his love.
Let’s pray: God, as much as I know how, I receive your love. I hand you all the ways I have felt unlovable; as I list some of them here, I invite you into each hurt and insecurity.
I lay them down in this moment and believe what the Bible says of me instead: I am marvelously made, the workmanship of your all-powerful hands. There is nothing I can do that will make you stop loving me; you love me “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3 NLT). Because you gave up your son Jesus to die, I know my worth to you is immeasurable. Thank you for your relentless love! There is nothing I can do to earn it but by your grace, I receive it! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let the love of the Father wash over you. Bask in it and write down whatever you sense he’s speaking to you personally.