Love Unconditionally

Beauty & Truth 2

Beauty & Truth

Love Unconditionally

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. 1 John 4:7

 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2

In the midst of Lori’s experience with Blair’s illness and their lives being turned upside down, she asked the Lord, “What does it mean for me to really LIVE?” The Lord gave Lori three statements: embrace beauty, walk without fear and love unconditionally.  This week we look at what it means to love unconditionally regardless of our circumstances and how others treat us.

Why did God tell me that loving unconditionally would be something I needed to do in order to “really live?”  This is what I have learned:

      Love unconditionally because that’s how I [The Lord] love.

      Love unconditionally because that’s what My children desperately need in order to live whole and productive lives. 

      Love unconditionally because loving others freely and without strings attached will set you free.

—Lori Fink

Loving unconditionally does not come naturally.  Our flesh rails against it. It requires some effort, diligence and forethought. But the good news is God does not leave us to ourselves in our efforts to love unconditionally.

First and foremost, the motivation and help is found in the word “beloved” in verse one of Ephesians. As a Christ- follower, I am the beloved of the Father. He provides all that is needed to love others unconditionally because God IS love. Love is central to God’s character.  His love for us is unfailing and not dependent upon anything we have done, are doing or will ever do.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalm 36:5

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. 1 John 4:7

In Scripture God’s unfailing love is known as His “hesed”, a Hebrew word meaning, to be faithful and merciful; love; goodness; an act of kindness shown towards someone.  The quality of the kindness shown is usually like that reserved for close family or friends.  “Hesed” implies personal involvement and it is covenantal with those God has chosen and redeemed.  It implies reciprocity but since God’s “hesed” is ultimately beyond the covenant, it will not be abandoned even when the human partner is unfaithful.  God’s “hesed” is everlasting (Isaiah 54:8).  “Hesed”, unfailing love, is often found and paired with instances of God’s strength and steadfastness in Scripture.

Secondly, we have been given the example of Christ to imitate and the gift of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to instruct us.

 God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5b

It is only as God’s Spirit floods our hearts with love that we, in turn, can love one another.

The Spirit of God makes the commandment “love one another” into a new and exciting day-by-day experience.  It is a matter of the will rather than an emotion—an affection for and attraction to certain persons. It is a matter of determining—of making up your mind—that you will allow God’s love to reach others through you, and then of acting toward them in loving ways.

 The question I have to continually ask and answer is:  

How will the fact that I am beloved by the Father motivate my reaction in this moment?

Here are just a few reminders of reality of being beloved of the Father:

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9

 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7

 And these barely scratch the surface of the depth, breadth, length and height of His love!  His Word is resplendent with so many more examples of His love for us.

Finally, when we love unconditionally it is a practical thing; it applies in the everyday affairs of life. Just consider some of the “one another” statements in the New Testament and you will see how practical it is to love one another.

Bear with one another. Ephesians 4:2

Build one another up. Ephesians 4:7-16

Be kind to one another and forgive one another. Ephesians 4:32

Live in harmony with one another. Romans 12:16

Encourage and build one another up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-15

Bear one another’s burdens. Galatians 6:2

Teach and admonish one another. Colossians 3:16

Show hospitality to one another. 1 Peter 4:9

Serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10

Pray for one another. James 5:16

Seek to do good to one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Love one another earnestly. 1 Peter 4:8

 If you’d like to study these “one anothers” in greater depth, click here to find a previous series titled Walking in Love.

 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God!

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