(Originally posted 3-15-18)
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” — C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
There is a pattern I believe in Christian worship circles that seems to follow a yearly if not more frequent schedule. It is the chasing after of the “it song” of the moment. It’s usually a song that is already resonating within one sort of community: most likely a church or youth movement of some sort. As the ground swell continues, the song goes from just local appreciation to something more regional and then nationwide, perhaps even worldwide. Think of songs in the past 5-10 years that are now household names within the church: Good Good Father, What A Beautiful Name, Oceans, 10,000 Reasons, This Is Amazing Grace; the list goes on and on. Major radio stations (K-Love) and big name artists (Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, etc) who play the songs don’t hurt its likability either. But it seems each year, a song resonates and becomes an anthem for so many…an idea that needs to be sung whether you attend a house church or a mega church.
I would consider the “it song” of the moment to be a song that is not without its own controversy for it’s bold claim: Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. Within the lyrics and within the title is an idea that is challenging to many within the faith. It’s even challenged worship leaders to debate whether or not the song fits within their church’s Sunday setlist. It’s the idea that God could be reckless; that an All-Supreme Being could somehow display actions which seem crazy; perhaps even foolhardy.
Just look at the definition of the word:
Reckless (adjective): reckless(of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action. Synonyms include rash, careless, thoughtless, heedless, unheeding, impulsive.
To put words on the lips of the Bride of Christ is a humble and daunting task. I am not here to either defend Mr. Asbury nor the movement from which this song began. But what I am led to discuss is the conversation I believe this song leads us into. Is God truly reckless? And if so, what are the implications for us? I believe God is reckless, but not in the way that we might perceive recklessness to be. Just as the lion Aslan in C.S Lewis’ Narnia volumes was not “safe”, God is a being that challenges the boundaries of safety and of our own comfortable faith.
1. Reckless love was displayed by the cross
Every year around Easter, the wonder of the cross and its meaning for us settles in like no other time. I was driving the other day and just thinking of the absurdity of what Christianity means. What other religion takes its God and places it at the lowest point? What other religion shows a divine character coming down to the level of humanity; not only to our level but to the lowest place of shame and rejection? Yet that is what Jesus Christ did and it truly is a demonstration of something reckless. It’s so reckless it is even beyond our own comprehension and understanding. The cross should wow us every time we think about it, not just at Easter but all year long. It makes no sense. It certainly doesn’t fit within our box of “Americanized, me-first” way of life. If ever any love could be deemed as reckless, it was the love Christ displayed for us in being willing to die on our behalf. No other religion offers that. No other belief system makes this claim.
[Jesus] who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8
2. God’s example of love is what love truly should be
O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God
O it chases me down fights 'til I'm found
Leaves the ninety-nine
I believe before we come to know Christ, we truly do not know love. We have not experienced true love until we experience the love of Christ. It is the perfection and the ideal of what love is and although it appears “reckless” to this world, it is the original intention God had all along. Nowhere in Scripture do we ever notice Christ rejecting or putting a stop to those who are displaying love in His name. When we do see Christ rebuking someone (often the Pharisees), it is ultimately for their lack of love and compassion. What Jesus does by leaving the 99 to go after the 1 is an example of love as it should be. Ultimately His concern for the lost was seen as too radical and too reckless by many. Unfortunately we struggle with similar Pharistical backlash in many of our churches today.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you don't go in, and you don't allow those entering to go in. Matthew 23:13
3. If we love as Christ has loved us, we will be reckless as well
We must take time to remember what Christ has done for us but we must also look outward at what He is calling us to do in light of His sacrifice. In a previous entry, we've spent some time studying the various “heart conditions” that respond to the Gospel (see Conditions Of The Heart). You and I do not know the hearts of those we come into contact with each day but Jesus does. He displayed reckless love in pursuing us and at some point, our hearts were softened to His love. Our awareness of our sin and need for salvation became unavoidable. At that point, we surrendered ourselves to His love and His Spirit came to live inside us. Every soul around us has the same opportunity but I believe they have to see the reckless love of God to be truly drawn to Him. If we’re honest, Christianity does not make sense. Therefore, a person either sees the absurdity of it all and rejects it. Or they see the love and are drawn to it because nothing else in this world is like it. Either way, we allow the seed to be sown and we leave the results up to God. If we are to love like Jesus, we have to become reckless.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
As I close out this message, I’ve enclosed a clip of a rendition I recorded of Reckless Love. I hope it encourages you but beyond that, I leave it to challenge you with something: as you consider what Christ has done for you, would you pray about how and where you could show God’s reckless love? I leave the specifics up to you, only that it is something specific that you would ask God to impress upon your heart. Maybe there is someone in your life you need to invite to church. Maybe you need to visit an old friend and share the Gospel because you don’t know where he or she is at with the Lord. Maybe you need to give some sort of monetary donation because God has blessed you with an abundance and there is someone or something that will be blessed by a sincere act of reckless, uninhibited giving. These are just examples and ideas but I hope they give some direction and point you to an action that is truly reckless in reflection of the reckless love you and I have been shown.
As always, I love you and am praying for you. Your faith in Christ is a blessing to me.