Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)
Expressing love as God intends is becoming increasingly rare in this self-absorbed world. By nature, we tend to want to love others only if we get something in return. Selfishly, we always have the fulfilment of our own needs in the back of our minds, no matter how pure our intentions may seem on the surface.
God calls us to love others as He first loved us.
It’s not about warm fuzzy feelings. It’s about sacrifice; putting aside one’s selfish interests for the sake of others, expecting nothing in return. “Impossible!”, you might declare. Humanly speaking… yes. Only by allowing the Holy Spirit within us to refine our hearts, can we begin to love as God first loved us.
Without Jesus Christ to save us, we are all condemned sinners; dirty, unholy, unrighteous and doomed to eternal death! If you think that’s a bit harsh, have a read of Romans 3:9-19. It doesn’t matter what we think. When God looks at us, all He sees is a rebellious people who do what they want.
God has every right to abandon us all to our own demise and eternal destruction, for none of us deserved more.
But He hasn’t.
Despite our sinful ways, God chose to do what none of us deserve… to reach out in love and save us. When Jesus came to die for us, He was motivated by His love for His Father and for us. Throughout His life He selflessly served others, no matter who they were or what they had done. Yet so often, all He received in return was defensive anger, abandonment, emotional, physical and spiritual turmoil. But in the end, all this earned Him was loneliness and an execution so terrible that none of us can ever imagine or comprehend.
Why did He do it?
Because He loves us! Jesus doesn’t love us based on how we treat Him. His unconditional, gracious love goes directly against any type of superficial, shallow love this world expresses so lavishly. That’s why a Christian who lives a life transformed by Jesus’ love will stand out like a lighthouse in the blackness of the night.
I’ve been really challenged with this lesson over the years, and I must say, I can’t think of many lessons that have stretched me as much! Deep down, there was always a desire to have any love I showed to others reciprocated in some way. However, I am slowly learning that God’s love is all I need to fill and equip me to love others unconditionally. The more I grow as a Christian, the more I realize how sinful I am by nature, and how awesome is God’s unconditional love for me. As a result I am learning, more than ever, to love Him by living for and trusting Him completely with my life and to love others without condition.
So, how has Jesus touched your heart?
How has His unconditional love transformed your life? Can others see the changes as a result? If not, why not?
Let’s start each day remembering the awesome sacrifice Jesus made for us, allowing that to inspire us to obey God to love others unconditionally.