Love can mean different things to different people. “I love you” can be the expression of a feeling which only another person can satisfy, like “I can’t live without you.” Is this true love, or is it no more than a personal longing? Basically, it reflects an overwhelming need to be accepted. To be accepted and loved are strong driving emotions that long to be satisfied.
Love is the coming together of two people, as in a marriage, to share their lives in a close relationship with one other. But love is giving, not taking. It’s the surrender of oneself to another unconditionally, which, if returned, forms a strong bond of mutual affection, ‘and the two will become one flesh’ (Mark 10:8).
Jesus said, ‘love one another as I have loved you’ (John 13:34). How has He loved us, and how can we share this in the same way with another? First we need to know His love, personally. There are many scriptures that tell us of His love: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 13:3), ‘nothing is able to separate us from the love of God’ (Romans 8: 38). Yet we struggle to understand it. We’re not good enough. We try to earn His love. Our lives don’t measure up to His standards. We don’t feel His love. Has He passed us by?
It’s not so much a case of doubting the love of God. Scripture doesn’t lie. But how do we receive it? Somehow, allowing it to infiltrate our lives can be a problem.
To many, He’s way out of reach. It seems like He’s trying to beam His love down to us from a great distance. He’s so far away, it barely reaches us. ‘Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts’ (James 4:8). Is this not the issue? – We’re all sinners. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3 23). Can this be the stumbling block?
No. ‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace’ (Ephesians 1:7). We’re forgiven! Nothing can come between us and the love of God. He’s not a million miles away. ‘God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 5:5). He lives within us by His Spirit.
If someone said they were willing to die for us, would our hearts not melt with compassion and gratitude? Jesus did just that. ‘He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining (for us) eternal redemption’ (Hebrews 9:12). Are our hearts so cold we can’t respond to His love and mercy?
Let the freedom of His grace fill our hearts, let the joy of His mercy melt our soul and the warmth of His overwhelming, unconditional love fill our lives. He wants us to enjoy His presence. Let’s immerse ourselves in His love and respond with gratitude.
Prayer: Lord, I want to surrender myself wholeheartedly to Your unconditional love. Help me to love others as You have loved me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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