Our love has limits and conditions. But God’s love is unconditional. He is waiting for us to open His gift of full-force love, and share it with the world.
School had started back and I was going through a list of “Thoughts of The Day” that I use to start my class. One stuck out and made me really stop to reflect about what love is.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
– Mother Teresa
I had the immediate thought that if someone has to earn love, then they aren’t really being given love.
Reflecting on my relationships I began to wonder how many times I had made that stipulation. Have I ever made a friend feel like they “owed” me? Probably. Can I say I have never said “If you would just (blank) I would love you more”? Nope, I think I may have said that qualifier a time or two. At this point in my self-reflection, I’m not proud, but I think it’s important to face my shortcomings and correct them as I can.
It is my goal to reflect God’s light in my life. I have a lot to work on. When I have something to work on, I try to make a road map. Where am I? Where do I want to end up? How am I going to get there?
So, obviously, I am at a place where my love is sometimes given with conditions. I want to love without reserve, wholeheartedly. How to get there? That’s the question.
When I started thinking about love, I went to the Bible’s definition in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. Paul lays out very clearly what love is and isn’t. This is something that I have heard, recited and contemplated most of my life.
So I went looking for other verses that talk about how to love like Christ. I came across Ephesians 2.
Essentially, these verses tell us that we are all sinners and because we are sinners we deserve to die. But God is so merciful and loves us beyond measure. He sent us His Son to die to save us forever. Grace is what saves us. God’s love. We are God’s creation. He loves us and wants to be with us. So He gave us a gift.
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.
There is nothing I can do to save my life. I can’t be nicer, wiser, more polite, or do more service. All of that would be great, but it won’t buy me salvation.
Full Force Love…
Agape love gave me salvation as a gift. The only condition is acceptance of the gift. Nothing can change the gift, except a rejection of it. WOW! That is overwhelming to reconcile. And gloriously liberating at the same time.
You are my source of strength! I will sing praises to you! For God is my refuge, the God who loves me.
I have been incredibly lucky in my life to know really good, full force love. My parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, husband and children have all shown me abundant love. I try desperately to give it back in equal measure. Some instances are more successful than others. I would be willing to say, they have felt the same. When I am tired, angry, overwhelmed or distracted I can snap at the wrong person, ignore a need, or put conditions on my emotions (“I would love you so much more if you didn’t need to argue with everything I say”).
God never has and never will do that. His love is always. It is a gift just waiting to be unwrapped, lifted up, and held dear. If that isn’t enough to sing praises over, I don’t know what is.
But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Friends, I want to encourage you to shred the paper and ribbons off the gift. Open it with abandon. Let’s celebrate this gift of full force love and try to give it back to one another.
I am coming to you with shame and sadness in my heart. I have failed to give love openly. Help me to share the gift You have given so freely. Thank you for the greatest gift ever given – salvation.