Love... the Most Powerful Force in the Universe
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." John 13:34
One of the greatest needs for humans is to be loved. We need to know we are important to somebody; that somebody cares about us, wants us and accepts us. If we doubt we are loved, we may develop unacceptable behavior patterns to compensate for it. The good news is that God LOVES us with an unconditional love, not based on feelings, emotions or performances; it is limitless, changeless.
Scripture explains the characteristics of unconditional love as patient, kind, rejoicing in truth and righteousness, not proud or boastful, is not rude, is not selfish, is not resentful and does not keep track of wrongs. Unconditional love is quick to believe the best, it loves justice and love never fails (I Corinthians 13:4-8). Without the love, attempting to be obedient to God’s Word is deceiving, causing others to feel unimportant, rejected and it is unprofitable. We are to accept His unconditional love by faith and then release the same principle to love toward others (Galatians 6:2). As we express God’s unconditional love, it returns to us multiplied.
Unconditional love has the power to heal all wounds, bind people together and build a foundation for healthy relationships. Unconditional love is about acceptance. It is not about expecting others to make you happy through their choices and how they live. We can’t control others, only ourselves. Unconditional love is to love another as they are, no matter what they do or fail to do.
Unconditional love has a positive effect on our physical, emotional and spiritual state of being. It creates truth, joy, beauty and harmony. To believe in unconditional love and to actually love unconditionally requires faith. Walking in love is a choice. Acting on that choice takes effort.
Unconditional love removes expectations and limitations on people and puts our expectations upon the working of the Holy Spirit for everyone’s best. The work of the Holy Spirit transforms and changes our will and desires to give and receive love. By the empowering design of the New Covenant, we follow the urge to express love. To the degree that we continue to be mixed with human love and little unconditional love is the degree of struggle and strain we have in life. We can know about unconditional love, but if our emotions are still held in fear, emotions take over. The expression of faith that works by unconditional love gives us the answers to life and makes us a channel for God’s riches to flow to others.
The love of the world is shallow, temporal and conditional. It is based on feelings and emotions that can change from one moment to the next. Conditional love is ego-centered. It is based on what we do, often selfish, demanding and it only lasts so long as certain unspoken rules are maintained or met. We hesitate to do anything for others that will cost us too much or inconvenience us too greatly.
God’s love is a love that initiates. It is never a response or it would be conditional. If God’s love were conditional, then we would have to ‘get’ something from someone or something. John 3:16 reminds us of God’s love and ultimate sacrifice. God sent Jesus to die for our sins so we could have a personal relationship with Him. When there is no one else in our lives to rely on for love, God’s love is always with us. We often expect others to provide the kind of love we believe that will make us feel ‘happy’ rather than accepting God’s unconditional love. People will disappoint us, but God never will. Instead of depending on others to complete our need for love, rely on His unconditional love. God always follows through and He always provides what we need.
Foundation for Expressing Unconditional Love
1. Do not dwell on what you may call a problem. Live challenged. Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Practice casting, releasing and letting go of emotional thoughts and feelings to the Lord. He perfects that which concerns you (I Peter 5:7, Psalms 138:8). Life is too much for us to handle on our own.
2. Do not predict how God works to bless your life. Walk step by step and live in the Spirit of peace and joy. Walking in peace and joy will cause the ‘how to’ to appear at the right time and the right place.
3. When our heart is fixed, trusting the Lord (Psalm 112:7), we are the answer to life. We are free to accept, love and desire the best for others. We are able to perform every task with love and joy because we know nothing is too difficult with God (Jeremiah 32:27).
4. Love others as you love yourself (Romans 13:9). When we have the revelation that our Creator-Redeemer loves us, we are able to see others differently. Judgment of a person based on their behavior shifts to seeing them as an accepted child of God. Loves desires others to be blessed, victorious, prosperous and favored.
5. Treat the ones you love as they desire to be treated. Take time to think about what it would be like to be them? Lay aside your self-interest and your needs and focus on the good things about the ones you love, and give thanks.