One of the reasons I fell in love with my husband was, I adored the way his phone conversations with his dad always ended with “I love you”. Hearing him proudly communicate his love to his family was super sweet, and honestly really sexy. And now, 9 years later after those words rolled off our tongues, I continue to be the lucky recipient. At work, with his buddies, or in the quiet of our bedroom, Chris constantly tells me that he loves me. But somehow, I’ve developed a bad habit. Several times throughout the week (or sometimes in one night) I ask Chris, “Do you still love me?”
Reading the book Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, (which I cannot stop raving about) I came across a line that read, “The world says you are good ‘if…’ – but God says you are good, period.” I stopped reading and the rabbit trail began. Do I really believe that? Like really believe that? If I do, then why do I operate as if God’s love is dependent on me? Why do I think that if I do something really great for God’s name, then He might love me more? Or that if I act like a complete jerk spouting mean words, He might love me less than the day where I graciously help my friends?
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Friends, God’s love for us is not an “if, then” statement. Nowhere in the Bible will you find a sentence that says, if you do this, then God will love you. Just as Jess Connolly said in Wild and Free, God says you are good, period. And nothing we do, either good or bad, will ever change that. So why is it that I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that God’s love is unconditional?
Unfortunately, we live in a broken culture where someone might not like us because we look different, or sound different, or represent a different political party (good grief). And for that reason, it makes it ridiculously difficult to grasp that someone might love us unconditionally. When I ask Chris, “Do you still love me?” the problem isn’t him; it’s me. Originating in my insecurity, fear births the thought that if I don’t have the dishes done or the laundry folded by the time he gets home, he might love me less. But even after the 19th time, Chris responds with a sweet sigh and maybe a little eye roll, “Of course I love you. You know that!”
We have a heavenly Father who is 100% capable of loving us without limits. He takes great delight in us when we’re at our highest points and our lowest. He will rejoice over us with singing, even if we have poop in our hair. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” I know it’s hard to comprehend, but God is made of this perfect, fear-free, unconditional love. There is absolutely nothing we can do to separate ourselves from His love. And believing this, like really believing this leads us to life-changing freedom.
In this world, because of sin there’s no way we can love as perfectly as God because He alone is perfect. But, we can sure try. We can look for the best in each other, extend grace as much as physically possible, and lean into the Lord when our well has run dry. Scripture says that others will know we are Christians by our love, and my prayer is that this might be true. Together, let’s tap into the overwhelming, wildly unlimited, love of our Father and let it flow through us.