Love is not how we love, it’s how God loves. Unconditionally.
No matter how much sin we are drowning in, He still loves.
No matter how unworthy we are, He still loves.
And even when we have hit rock bottom and are so filthy and weak and ashamed,
He still chooses to love us. Again and again.
And He is the only reason we will ever be worthy of His love.
Don’t love your way, love God’s way.
Love drastically. Love terrifically.
Love with passion and with all that you have and all that you are.
And love because God first loved YOU.
So what is perfect love? It’s all in the scriptures.
In John 3:16-17 it says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
Love is sacrificial. Love is not for us to keep, but to give. It is putting others before our selves, in every part of our lives. It is loving with everything we have, and not holding back. And not just our friends and families, but loving our enemies like that as well. Most importantly, it is what Christ did for us, completely willingly, on the cross. It is Christ being beaten and spit upon and whipped. It is His hands and feet being nailed to that cross. It is the stab wound in His side, and the jeering crowd that surrounded Him. And it is His last words, that “it is finished”. That is what love is.
In 1 John 4:7-12 it says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
God is love. We read it over and over in God’s word, that He is love. Love comes from Him and to love is to know Him. Loving others means God living in us and love being made complete in us. And how amazing is it that God’s own love can be made complete in sinners? In liars, and cheaters, and thieves?
In 1 John 4:16b, 18-19, and 21 it says, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.” “And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
There is no fear in love. Nor should there be, for those who have been redeemed have a seat at God’s table, and they have a home in Heaven with Him. They have the ability to say that God is with them and will never leave them nor forsake them, and because of that there is no need to fear. No need to fear persecution or even death. For God is and will be victorious.
“But now, this is what the Lord says- He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”” -Isaiah 43:1
There is hope. We ARE Jesus Christ’s. We ARE chosen by Him. God hears our cries. He knows our anger, our doubt, and our distress. And even when covered in it, even when clothed in sin, He still wants us and chooses to love us, with an unconditional love. With such a love that we will never come close to describing it in words or in actions, for it is so perfect…and we are nowhere near that perfection, nor that holiness.
“I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” -Psalm 116:1-2
You see, God loves us in a drastic way…a way that we will never be able to. His love is pure. His love is eternal. It is unfathomable. It is unconditional. And we are completely and utterly unworthy of it. He loved us with such a desperate love, that He sent His own Son – His one and only Son – to die for us.
We: so full of sin, so weak, so broken, and so wretched…deserving, not even life, let alone Christ’s love…were chosen by a most Holy God and redeemed. REDEEMED – how I love to proclaim it! I am not. I am not BUT…I know I AM. And He loves ME. And He loves YOU.
How insane is that? How radical is that? Because I am so broken, so torn, so filthy. Drowning in so much sin, that I can hardly breathe. Yet in all my desolation, through every struggle and every mistake, in every dark place I’ve been and will go, He still loves me. And continues to choose to love me, every day and every moment – with every single breath I take. I long to be able to love in an indescribable way; to be able to love someone in an unshakable, unbreakable way.
And I dearly hope I’m not the only one. I truly hope that you have been challenged or are being challenged to long for the same thing, and not just that, but to strive for it as well. Can we be in awe…together…of God’s love? That Jesus would literally bleed His love for us? That it is a “seal burnt inside our hearts”? We are incomplete. And we are undone. And I don’t know about you, but I feel as if there will never be enough praise nor enough wonder inside of me.
And I am terrified. For no-one has ever – EVER – loved me or sacrificed so much for me in such a great and deep way. God’s love is so painstakingly REAL that I can barely contain my utter joy in knowing that His love is for ME. And that it is for YOU. How surreal. ALL I can do is praise Him and pray that how I love glorifies Him – for He is a holy and majestic God…and I am STILL unworthy. We are all still unworthy, and that’s okay. But we must choose as well.
For love is a choice. Loving unconsciously is impossible, unless you are loving with a plastic heart. God doesn’t love us because He’s required to, or feels that He should. He loves because He wants to, daily…continuously…all the time. No matter who we are, or what we’ve done. He loves even the worst of us, even His own enemies.
In Matthew 5:43-48 it says, “You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
We cannot do this. We cannot love JUST those who love us. We would be no better than those who do and we must be better than that. We must take this call to love and go entirely beyond it, striving to love perfectly as God does. Take hold of this challenge and don’t you dare let go, for if we are to do anything on this earth, it is to love and glorify God through that love.
I am choosing to strive to love like that. How about you?