Message Mondays (What is Love?)

Sometimes I often wonder what I have done to deserve the love given to me by my Father in Heaven. As a Christian we know that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favour and glory, yet sometimes I do wonder. What would happen if at the end of the day, the love that we have been given isn’t as unconditional as we once thought it was? What if the love we have been given from the start was in fact love that was conditional? Because frankly when push comes to shove, we don’t deserve the love given to us by God. Truly, we don’t. All of our good works, deeds and loving acts of kindness are indeed overshadowed by all the pain, hurt, disappointment and of course hypocrisy that we have caused ourselves, our family and friends, and God Himself. So to think of all the mess and dirtiness, I will say this again- how can God love us that much to give His only Son as a ransom, so that we can come back to Him and accept His love in the form of a sacrifice, often at times on a daily basis?

This is what I have been grappling with right now. I know that I have been blessed and loved beyond measure, yet often some days it can be more overwhelming and impacting than others. Today is one of those days. As I reflect on the lengths that Christ came to reconcile His creation towards Himself, I am marvelled at the lengths that God went to for reconciliation. Because if I was in that situation, I probably wouldn’t have the courage to undertake what Christ Jesus did. To die for our friends and family…maybe. But to die for people who may or may not accept the free gift of grace and eternal life? Ummm…I need to think about that.

What Christ has done for all of creation (people who lived in the past, in the present and the future) is revolutionary to say the least. Once we grasp the enormity of love displayed for each and every one of humanity, I am able to bask the freedom, that what I have done, and yet to do won’t distance myself from the love already given by Him and accepted by myself. And at times in my life, I forget that fact. I forget that my action or inaction has no bearing on whether I belong to the family of God or not. No matter how far we stray or believe that the love given to us is wrongly placed, we know this in the end- that this is love in its purest form, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). It is out of that very same love that we can share with other people. Not out of judgement or us being right. Sure we may know that Jesus is the only way to God our Father, yet in that knowledge, we exercise in love being our frontline motive before anything else.

Recently pop-rock-worship band Sanctus Real released a new song to coincide with their lead singer change. “This is Love”, the first song under the new lead singer Dustin Lolli. In it, it is the poetic nature of the lyrics, coupled with the epic rock/opera/anthem atmosphere that the new singer brings to the fore, that makes me enjoy this song all the more. A song that encourages us to believe into the notion that love is everything we have believed it to be and even more, Dustin declares outright in the chorus, that ‘…it heals the brokenhearted, it sets the captives free, it walks an extra mile, even for your enemies, it moves every mountain, swallows up the sea, searches every corner, finding you and me, this is love…’ Very confronting, sobering, comforting and freeing, isn’t it? Knowing that love, God’s love, travels to great lengths to bring us back to Himself, with us doing nothing at all in the process? Because when it comes down to the truth, we don’t have to do anything to make God love us more than He already does, nor can we do anything for Him to decrease His love- He just loves, and loves abundantly.

Once we discover what love means, from a standpoint of God giving it to us, we can love without reservation. And if God freely gives His love to us, we can show that same love and grace to our fellow man, even if during certain moments, the natural response is to pass judgement and correction, rather than grace and love. It is out of love that people will respond to Christ, and as we develop relationships with those we meet, they will hopefully see a positive change in us and thereby inquire, as opportunities present themselves and we can share our own testimonies with those we know and love.

If we don’t have love, all that we do and say is for nothing. Simple, no buts or ifs. We can say the most grandiose things, even declare prophecies and perform miracles in Jesus’s name, and encourage and speak and interpret wonders, but if love is not our central focus and motivation for these incredible and magnificent acts, then whatever we have done ought not to count- in fact, I’m very sure that the things spoken without love as its motivation may in fact drive more people away than closer to God. There’s a song written and performed by Australian duo for KING AND COUNTRY that speaks about this notion of love. “Proof of Your Love” is as poetic as it is poignant, and is a clear and constant reminder of our focus. Even from the first verse of the track, we are confronted with the life-changing truth, that ‘…if I sing but don’t have love, I waste my breath with every song, I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise, if I speak with a silver tongue, convince a crowd but don’t have love, I leave a bitter taste with every word I say…’

Both “Proof of Your Love” and “This is Love” have encouraged me lately about what love is, what it should be, and what God longs for us to believe compared to what we believe about love ourselves. And as I finish off this post, let me ask some pointed questions- what songs, like these two that were discussed in this post, have influenced you lately about a characteristic of God that you may have overlooked or thought trivial in years gone past? Have you truly believed that the love given to yourself by God is really unconditional? How have you spoken to other fellow believers and unbelievers- out of judgement or out of love? Do you believe that the success of “This is Love” will catapult Sanctus Real to new heights? Let us all know in the comments. Til next time.

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