I love the word ‘lavish’

It is used a few times in the Bible. After Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the king lavished him with many gifts (Dan 2: 48); Hosea rebukes Israel for turning to Baal worship even after the Lord had lavished her with bountiful harvests and silver and gold (Hos 2: 8).

The word speaks of generosity, overflow, many gifts given freely. I believe the Apostle John had no choice but to pick this word as he wrestled with the impossible task of articulating in human terms the greatness and wonder of God’s love towards us: ‘How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3: 1).

‘And that is what we are!’ he continues, not able to stop. The deep truth of being an adopted son/daughter of God, with everything forgiven and God’s Grace arriving daily in bucket-loads, has hit John like a sledgehammer.

But John still doesn’t finish there. In verse two, he starts imagining the future. In effect, he says, ‘I don’t know what our bodies, our lives, are going to look like, but I know that, somehow, we are going to be just like Jesus; in fact, we are going to see him face-to-face and live with him. Wow!’

Wow, indeed, but then, in the light of all of this, John suddenly adopts a more serious tone.

‘Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure’. In other words, once these truths of adoption have sunk deeply into our souls, they should profoundly affect our hearts and determine how we live – with purity. Just as Jesus lived a pure life.

In what ways did Jesus live a pure life? There are a lot of things we could say, but let’s focus on just one here: Everything Jesus did was to glorify the Father.

Jesus never had a selfish thought, and he wasn’t driven by the goal of personal success. He didn’t get up in the morning hoping to expand his portfolio, increase his influence or grow his YouTube channel. He didn’t speak in such a way as to try and draw large crowds – he simply spoke the truth, loved the lost and healed the sick, and the crowds came anyway.

‘I only do what I see my Father doing’, he said. That’s where the purity is. Devoid of selfish motives, Jesus made it his sole aim to please His Father in Heaven.

When I ponder this I realise, if I am honest, how little I consciously do to please my Father. A lot of what I do is, at least, partly tainted by what I would like to achieve today, this year or in life. I have dreams I must go for.

If an honest search of your heart reveals the same, perhaps David’s prayer strikes a chord, ‘Create in me a pure heart, Oh God’ (Ps 51: 10), ‘Lord, create in me a heart whose sole goal is to please my Father in heaven’.

The Best is Yet to Come. God bless - Terry

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