Inside: If you’ve grown up experiencing conditional love, it’s hard to feel the opposite of the spectrum. The best love to imitate is the love of God.
*Disclosure: Post may contain affiliate links. See our full disclosure here.
A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in the Launch Team for Sarah Koontz’ upcoming Worthy of the Calling Study of Ephesians.
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to review an advanced copy of the study. You can see my testimonial on Sarah’s page here.
I was sitting crossed-legged on the brown carpet in my fuzzy socks, Hard Rock café boxer shorts and New Kids on the Block t-shirt. The moonlight was streaming in through my bedroom window casting a spotlight on the carpet. My friend was sitting next to me in a matching ensemble, but a Debbie Gibson concert tee. The rotary phone was sitting in the middle of our two person circle. I was biting my fingernails on the one hand and my other hand and fingers were following the curling of the phone cord.
My friend just proposed a deal to me; I either call the boy she liked, or I find a new friend.
As I sat there, the two conditions had me caught. I either made a fool of myself, or I would find myself without a best friend. The decision needed to be made on the spot and I couldn’t weigh out the pros and cons. My worth was now riding on my decision.
Have you ever experienced conditional love? Do this and I will do that? It puts you in a bind because you feel backed up into a corner. You have to self-deny in order to please someone else. It takes away your sense of control.
If you’ve grown up experiencing conditional love, it’s hard to feel the opposite of the spectrum. To receive love, you’re always doing and trying to master the other person’s conditions, even when you might not know those terms.
Lots of guilt flows out of your heart because you always feel like you are undeserving of another’s love.
The problem is we imitate the love we’ve grown up with whether it was right or wrong.
Children believe the form of love that was given to them and trying to undo certain conditions is hard work.
As a parent now, I find this a scary concept. I want my kids to feel loved unconditionally. They never have to do anything to earn my love. Sure, they will disappoint me, but my love will never suddenly stop flowing.
Why Should we imitate the love of God?
Jesus was sent to earth to live as a human and experience life as we do. Even though he was without sin, He felt emotions and pain but never let His feelings run wild into the sin category. Our Father sent Jesus to come here to save us even though we were messes.
In your mess, God saw your worth.
(Romans 5:8, NLT). But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
God saved us regardless of what we have done in the past, the present and the future as long as we accept Jesus. There are no conditions other than accepting Jesus as Lord.
The best love to imitate is God’s; it’s an everlasting, over-extending love for us. This love is not a cautious love, but an extravagant love.
How do we learn more about the love of God?
We follow God’s example through studying Jesus’ life.
Ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to learn, accept and extend this love.
We plead for help and practice thankfulness.
We ask Him to use us, right where we are this moment (because He will show you love in ways you’ve never known when you offer yourself.)
When we love, it covers both public action and private action. The love becomes a character trait that we carry with us wherever we go.
When we fill our hearts with God’s love, purity and grace flow out of every aspect of our person. ~Sarah Koontz
God is love, so if we are in God and are growing like Him, we become Love.
What does imitating God’s love look like in everyday life?
1. Spend time in the Word; we need filling before love can flow out.
2. Understand Biblical love so we can live it out. When we truly love, we can lay aside: jealousy, pride, and become trustworthy.
3. Practice prayer. We can only experience His love when we are in a relationship with Him.
4. Learn to speak Truth even when it’s not popular, or it’s hard.
5. Join in a relationship with other believers to practice this love.
6. Understand becoming love is a life-long process.
When we commit to God to become Love, it glorifies Him. God is not physically present in this world, so when we become Love others can see Him. It strengthens our brothers and sisters in Christ and can bring non-believers to faith also.
So who are you imitating?
As a child, I gave into the condition and called the boy. I didn’t want to lose my friend. But now as an adult, I’m learning that I don’t want any part in a conditional love relationship. I will never live up to other’s standards; I will always disappoint.
So I am breaking up with conditional love and instead, accepting the Real love of God. It’s His character, Love is God, His love is unconditional and He will love me forever.
Worthy of a Calling
Here are 7 quick facts about the Worthy of the Calling Study:
▪It’s a FREE email-based online Bible study.
▪It takes just 10-15 minutes per day to complete.
▪It follows five days on, two days off format.
▪It covers the whole book of Ephesians
▪Register today at SarahKoontz.com/Worthy