Does your love wax and wane depending on your circumstances? Do you love your wife one day and hate her the next, or are those just your feelings that change? We are a fairly fickle lot, and for most of us, our emotions and feelings can change at the drop of a hat, or a hammer, or when someone else drops the ball, or with the weather…you get the idea. In our culture, we use the word love fairly loosely and recklessly, so that it loses the impact of its true meaning. Kids can love a movie, you may love spaghetti, or you may love your child, or your wife, but all those loves should have different meanings. Is our love for God and his love for us the same thing? Not really.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. I John 4:10
We may sing of our love for God and really feel that we mean it at times. We may read a verse of scripture that really rings true in our hearts and feel that we love God, but then circumstances change and these feelings change from one moment to the next. The same with our thankfulness. We may feel truly grateful one day and selfish and indignant the next, but does genuine love truly depend on our feelings and emotions?
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35
Does God’s love for you depend on your behavior? Often, we may feel we deserve his love when we are doing good things, and may feel unworthy of it at other times when our actions don’t warrant love from anyone. But the truth is, no matter what we do, we don’t deserve his love, but he shows it to us anyway. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Why would he show us his love when we didn’t deserve it?
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19
Honestly, I cannot fathom the depth of God’s love, because mine often seems to be more conditional than unconditional. When strangers show me kindness, I am more apt to show the same in return, and when they are selfish, my gut reaction is to act the same in return (especially on the road). But when I am filled with gratitude for God’s love, when his Spirit overflows from me, I am more apt to filter my words and actions and be loving toward others, regardless of the circumstances. The fruit of love is displayed in our actions. When we feel love and compassion toward another person, we are often moved to do loving things for them. When we don’t feel kind or loving toward others, we may still choose to show them love.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
So, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in today, remember to show your love to others who don’t deserve it. Just as God showed his love to us when we didn’t deserve it, to be like Christ is to do the same. Easier said than done, but maybe putting this on my ‘to do’ list is more important than some of the other things I have on there. May God’s love continue to grow in your heart each day, regardless of the circumstances!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14
With the Love of Christ,