Daily Devotional for Friday February 14, 2003
(1 John 4:8)
Love. Today is the day the world celebrates that powerful force known as love. The world focuses on the romantic aspect of this emotion, but I want to focus on the true meaning of the word from God's perspective. You see God's love, biblical love, has an aspect that the world tries to copy but fails. That aspect of God's love, the love spoken of in the Bible, is that it is UNCONDITIONAL. I can tell you right now, that in our frail human condition, it is impossible to love anyone unconditionally. However, when you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, when you have the strength that God imparts to you, to love someone unconditionally is not only possible, but required of His children.
One of the common threads that you will find in my devotionals is that when you live your life according to God's plan, things will work out. However, when you rebel, ignore God's warnings, do it your way instead of God's way, it never works long-term and you end up dealing with heartache and pain that could have been avoided. For those like me that are hardheaded and stubborn, we have to find this out the hard way and endure some of the worst things life has to offer before we finally realize that if we would just submit our will to His, and do it His way, we could avoid many unpleasant experiences and the serious consequences of our rebellion.
Love, God's kind of love is no different. God has a specific plan. In a romantic sense, between a man and woman, it is intended for us to have one partner during this lifetime. While I realize that for many it is not the case, that doesn't alter or change what God's plan is. For those who have gone through the pain of divorce, broken relationships, you understand very well why God's plan is the best way. I want to encourage those young adults today to not hurry into romantic relationships so early in life.
I cannot begin to tell you the mail I get daily from young adults 13, 14, 15, 16 who are writing because of problems with boyfriends and girlfriends. In all honesty, they have no business being romantically involved at that age. The biggest problem that I have seen in many years of ministry, dealing with literally tens of thousands of young adults "in love", is that the revolving door of relationships that start FAR too young, gives people a mindset that when things don't work out the way you like, just move on. Sadly, that mindset is carried into marriage, and when thing get difficult, it becomes much easier to just walk away and get a divorce as opposed to honoring the vows you made to your spouse, and to God.
God's plan is for one man, one woman, for one lifetime. Again, those who have been through multiple relationships in their life understand why that plan works so well. Patience, faith, trusting God is the key element in establishing that God-ordained union in your life. It then puts you in a position, with the power of God living in you, to love that person the way you should, unconditionally.
Outside the romantic arena, unconditional love is the way God expects us to love others. How can you love someone unconditionally that you don't even know? Think about the unconditional love God showed when He gave His only Son on a cross 2000 years ago for the sins of this world. For the sins of everyone, including those who mocked and cursed Him. That is the true test of unconditional love. Loving someone who loves you is easy. Can you love, unconditionally love, someone who has been mean to you, done bad things to you, caused you pain and heartache? God did. How do you think God feels about those who defy Him, sin against Him, work against Him, hate Him? These are the people that He gave His Son for. DESPITE ALL THEY DO, GOD STILL LOVES THEM...UNCONDITIONALLY!!!
I love you and care about you so much. I pray today that you will think of someone today, this Valentine's Day who you have had problems with in your life. I want you to get on your knees tonight before you go to bed and pray for that person. Pray for them, and ask God to give you unconditional love for that person. The Bible tells us to "love our enemies". Again, that is God's kind of love, unconditional love. You will not even begin to know the feeling of joy and peace as you pray for that person who hurt you. The blessings you will know as you love that person unconditionally. God loved you unconditionally even though you were a sinner, how can we do any less? Make today a special day as you pray for that person in your life who has harmed you in some way, and in the strength that God gives you, love that person....UNCONDITIONALLY.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller