What is Love Anyway? (5/5)


The One Way Love of God

From the beginning, God has loved and created us without needing something from us in return. His love truly is the very example of what (in this series) we’ve been calling one way love. A love that is extended from one direction (God) to another (us) without regard for what comes back.

In the creation account of Genesis, we can see that our creator God desires relationship with us (His creation). He loves us and provides all we need, but not only that; he is present with us and walks with us. We have an unbroken, perfect relationship.

Sadly, we humans aren’t satisfied with that. The moment God gives us any kind of boundaries, we start questioning his goodness.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” (Genesis 2:15-17)

Think about it. We are offered the fruit of every single tree in the garden except for one, and we focus on the one thing we are asked not to partake of. Like children who are told not to touch a hot stove, we humans seem to prefer to learn from our own experience rather than trust those who love us.

We know the story. The forbidden fruit in itself wasn’t the temptation. It was the belief that God may be holding out on us that made the fruit tempting. Asking in our hearts: “What is it God wants to keep from me?” rather than, “I know God loves me and provides for me so I am free to say no to this one tree without the FOMO.”

This isn’t just a story from long ago -- we all choose to reject God’s best path for us. When God gives us some boundaries in order to build trust in his goodness, we believe we can figure out a better way. We turn from him and prefer to manage good and evil, right and wrong for ourselves. And, in a sense, God’s love for us is tested.

Will God respond to our rejection of him by forcing his own way on us? How can he continue to be loyal toward those who have essentially opted out of trusting him fully?

It is in God’s response to our rejection where we see the very definition of one way love. God responds to our desire to lead independent lives apart from him by loving us in an uncommonly, spectacular way.

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

In his love for us, in his desire to welcome humanity back into table fellowship with him (our greatest good), he spared no expense, yet never forced our hand.

How does God demonstrate one way love that remains loyal to our greatest good (relationship with him) without seeking its own way (forcing us into relationship)?

He dies.

Dies to bridge the immense gap between us and relationship with him.

Dies to demonstrate that his desire is for our greatest good.

Dies so that our relationship is not based on us making better decisions or performing better to get back to him, but rather fully and solely on him showing the way.

This is one way love.

No one is forced into believing or accepting this, but if we see the beauty of Jesus’ selfless pursuit of us, we just might be willing to die to the idea of trying to manage right and wrong, good and evil, for ourselves. We find freedom in receiving grace. We experience love by laying down our warped view of love. We call this grace.

It is by grace we are loved and it is through this grace (and for this grace) that we are able to extend this type of love to others. In a sense, it is because of Love, that we embody love ourselves and extend love to others.

May we each receive the the one way love of God that he so greatly desires to show us!