God’s love was revealed among us in this way:
God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.
I John 4:9
Sometimes we toss the word around. I love watching football. I love to run at night with an iPod blaring in my ear. I love strawberry cake. I love going to the movies. I love…fill in the blank.
Other times, the word has a much, much deeper meaning. I love Connie with everything I have. I love our son Zack and our daughter-in-law Katie. I love our son Austin. I love our daughter Katie Rose. I love (really smiling and gushing here…) our granddaughter Ava Joy. I cherish them. I live for them.
I love each of you. I love you for reasons I can’t explain and in ways I can’t describe.
Regardless of how deeply I love…or try to love at least…I realize that my love is flawed. I sometimes can’t help but let things like disappointment, anger, or even selfishness get in the way of truly, truly loving. I have to admit that sometimes there are strings attached. I’m not proud of it…but I’m human.
God’s love is altogether different. God loves with no reserve, no regret and no retreat. God love is without condition and without fail.
It is in this way that God loves YOU. Period.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. It doesn’t matter what you have done or what you have not done.
Perhaps you are a person who has made so many bad choices that you can’t imagine being loved by anyone…much less the God of the universe. Perhaps you can’t bear to even think of all the times you’ve turned your back on God by the way you’ve lived your life so far. God does not care about that.
Or, perhaps you are a person who has devoted yourself to following Christ and are committed to living according to the example and teachings of Jesus. Great. (I mean it…that’s really great.) But…when it comes to God’s love for you…that doesn’t matter either. You simply cannot earn the fullness of God’s love.
Perhaps you have squandered every opportunity you have had in life. Or perhaps you are a person who is wildly successful in the world’s eyes and by its standards. Perhaps you feel you’ve got your life completely together…or maybe your life is falling apart. Neither matter.
Perhaps you are a person who, up until now, has decided that seeking God is for fools, Jesus is a myth, and faith is a fool’s errand. Even so, this one thing remains true:
God loves you…for you. Whatever or wherever you are. No reserve. No regret. No retreat. Without condition. Without fail.
The fullness of that love…the extreme manifestation of that love…came to us in the form of a baby, in Bethlehem, at Christmas. Jesus. The name above all names.
Johns Creek Baptist Church