I think there’s a misconception about love. I feel that people often think it needs to be earned or won. My ex has told me that he has never felt good enough for me; he has never felt worthy of my love. He has never felt like he had earned it. I think that’s because my love for him was given freely, it wasn’t based on his actions, and his love for me was conditional on how I made him feel. His love had to be earned on a daily basis and he thought mine did, too. It’s the only kind of love he knows.
My boys are no longer willing to do whatever is necessary to earn and keep his love. They will always love him, but they are tired of feeling like they have to work to have his love in return. They have spent their whole lives feeling like they were never good enough for him to love them as they are. When they are not being perfect, he makes them feel like they are not good enough for him to love. They feel easily replaced by whoever and whatever is currently earning his love, and they are tired of trying. If someone is not earning his love and doing for him, he doesn’t feel loved at all. He truly does not understand that love is free. Love is not about yourself, it’s about someone else.
The Bible talks a lot about love. It never once says we have to be worthy of it or earn it; it cannot be won. My previous post, What is Love, talks about the things love is- patient and kind; and the things it is not- arrogant, rude, boastful, or irritable. But let’s expand on that and learn about how God shows us how to love and why we are to love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
We are commanded to love. God has shown us love, and we must show it to others. We are to give it freely for the sole reason that God has given it freely to us. It is how others can see God. It is how unbelievers can see God exampled in our lives. Our love for others is our witness, it is the very thing people will see first in us. Showing love is one of the most important things we can do as Christians!
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8
Without love, we have no fellowship with God; we do not “know” Him. If we “know” God, if we have a relationship with Him, we WILL show love to others. God is love, so as long as we are living in Him, we can’t help but to freely love others. It is who He is, and if we are walking with Him it should also be who we are. I feel like this verse also works in the reverse. If someone does not example or show love, they do not “know” God; they are not walking with Him. Because love is a crucial part of who God is, there is no way that a person who is walking with God can be cruel to others. If you are living in the will of God, you will be living in love. Love is essential in a Christian walk with God.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
We all have God-given gifts. These gifts are completely useless when not used in love. Rather than seeing our gifts as the tools God has given us to serve Him and lead others to Him, we will use them for our own selfish desires. We will see our gifts as things we have earned or tools we have mastered. Instead of using them for God, we will use them for man. We will use them for accolades, wealth, status, or attention. We will begin to see our gifts as things we have earned and deserve. They are not! These gifts were given to us by God, because of His love for us. These gifts are absolutely useless without the love of God to back them up. They may make you popular to man, and they may gain you the attention you seek from worldly people, but all of that is unimportant to God. His gifts are meant to be used to draw attention to Him, not to yourself. Be very aware that using the spiritual gifts God has given you in a way other than to example God’s love will bring you no peace and no joy. It is only through the love of Christ that these things can be found.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 33:36-40
What is it Jesus is talking about here? He’s talking about relationships. He’s talking about “knowing” God, walking with Him. Then having that same love, that same relationship with others. That first commandment is extremely important if you want to live out the second. Without having and accepting the love God has freely given us we will not know how to truly love. Loving God allows us to know how to love others. If we do not know God’s love, we will never be able to understand how to freely love others without making them earn it. If we don’t freely love God, who deserves all of our love, then how will we ever love freely love someone who doesn’t deserve our love? None of us deserve love! We all make mistakes, we all sin, we all hurt others. If we had to earn love, there would be many, many days where we walked around unloved. Our lives would be filled with loneliness, sadness, and pain. Without true, God-given, unfailing love, our lives are meaningless. Having and sharing that love gives us purpose.
Love that is earned will never stay. It will always come and go. It will constantly have to be re-earned. You not only won’t be able to freely give love, you also won’t be able to feel it when it is given freely to you. The love of committed, unconditional love, will stand forever. It won’t matter what you do, you will always be loved. God loves us no matter what we do. He is always waiting, arms open, for us to discover that.
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