We all are starving for a personal experience of genuine, Biblical love. The teachers of shadow spirituality tell us that it is only as we love ourselves that we are able to open our hearts to receive divine love. But this is the opposite of God's true spirituality. We come to Christ when we recognize that we are nothing without God and that, even in our sinful state, Christ died for us. The person who is absorbed with self-love cannot find God because he sees no need for God.
True love does not occur apart from God, and for the follower of Christ, love is not optional. That is because God's love flows from His nature. As John wrote, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). His character is defined by love. God has made an eternal choice from the foundation of all creation that He will love His creation.
God's love never varies.
At no time does God say, "I love you whenever it is convenient. I love you when you are good. I love you as long as you promise to try harder." God's love is constant, unchanging—not contingent on our performance. His love is sacrificial, aimed always at bringing about our eternal good.
God's love never varies. He loves us even when we are rebellious and disobedient, when we turn our backs on Him and refuse to return His love. He loves us. Period. He loves us because that is God's choice. God is love.
Jesus said in the most famous verse of the New Testament, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). There is nothing in that statement about our earning or being worthy of God's love. All the motivation and impetus are on God's part.
Our appreciation for God's love will grow when we realize that His love is not artificial or cheap. When God said to humankind, "I love you," He gave up all that was most precious to Him. He wondrously demonstrated His love by paying the price for our sin and that price was the death of His own Son.
Take a moment and allow yourself to be overwhelmed with the unconditional love of God. Praise Him for loving you even when you were at odds with Him.
Prayer: God, You truly are love. Thank You that we are enabled to love You and others because You first loved us (1 John 4:19). I know Your love will never fail or even diminish. Thank You, dear Father, for Your constant love for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"[H]e is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments" (Deuteronomy 7:9).