Now, in addition to the thoughts expressed in the recent Unconditional Love post, let’s consider God’s love as displayed through His plan of redemption. God sent his Son to die on the cross, a cruel death preceded by rejection, torture and abandonment. We are told that God ‘SO LOVED’ the world (us) that He allowed cruelty to come on his beloved Son. Jesus tells us that we will be like our teacher. Also, we are not to be surprised by the fiery trials that come upon us and that this is all God’s plan and that this present ‘suffering’ is not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us (2 Cor 4:17). Our suffering in this life is so that God’s glory can be seen in our earthen vessels.
God put a condition on Jesus to suffer and die so that we would be restored in relationship with God and so that the Comforter could come. There were conditions and yet God loved Jesus, His beloved Son, throughout the entire process. Jesus tells us we will be like Him and we will suffer at the hands of wicked men in this world, we will have trials and tribulations but that God has overcome the world and is with us. His love will never abandon us. He also said ‘If you love me follow me, keep my commandments’. Jesus put a condition on us – ‘IF’ which means I need to see you act and live this out. So, IF you love me then…….. (Go and do so I can see your faith in me and honour me by obeying my commands). It is possible for a condition and love to coexist.
Jesus laid down His life literally for us and personalizes the command for us to obey to prove we are His friends. Jesus loves us yet He puts a condition upon us for friendship with Him. It is undoubtedly God’s plan that we are conformed to His way of loving. We might say it like this, we are to ‘condition’ our heart’s response and thus our behaviours and affections, which should conform (be conditioned by our choices) to love as Jesus loved. We must manifest the fruit of obedience, deny our earthly comforts and exchange our goals for God’s priorities and embrace Jesus’ lifestyle and value system. This is the condition for entering into the fullness of His love.
Apparently heaven sees love purely but we try to change and twist what we want ‘love’ to be like to satisfy and justify our self-preservation. Our concept of unconditional love is no less than gathering a group of people who have committed to agreeing on their own reality. Furthermore, it manifests as an all encompassing, self-righteous exalting of acceptance of ‘doing what is right in our own eyes’ while indulging in immorality. We become a law unto ourselves and exalt our ways above God’s. Carnality twists and bends to a form of godliness labeling it ‘unconditional love’ to being an experience that condones the flesh to be free of humility, obedience and purity. We live in a place where our attempts at looking good to the status quo is more valuable than obedience so that the power of God may be seen in us as it was in the life of Jesus. For those who adhere to the above false pattern, their ideals of building ‘family and friends’ are most certainly toiling on the foundations of shifting sand. These are self-promoting fables that are built up in the heart like a fortress while excluding the truths of God’s nature and character. Was this Jesus lifestyle experience? Did He pattern and build His life on such man-centered formulas? This is nothing less than the teaching and deeds of the Nicolatians. We’ll see later what Jesus opinion was of those things.
We deceive ourselves into believing we are following Jesus and persecute those who will not join us. How we delude ourselves into thinking we can be Lord of our own life and be pleasing to Jesus at the same time. This is our ‘unconditional love’ where we posture our hearts over our Creator and demand others comply with our dishonorable lives. Do we actually expect God Almighty, Lord of heaven and earth to tolerate our dishonoring, rebellious demands of how we ought to please Him? (see Job 40:1) No, in fact we have rejected his Lordship and disdain His ownership of our existence. In Revelation 2 we see how detestable this is to Jesus. He is disgusted with lukewarm followers, and says ‘I will spew you out of my mouth’. This clearly speaks of one of the possible outcomes of ignoring the conditions that Jesus rightfully has placed on our ‘love’ for Him. We need to fear God and respect that every breath we take is a gift. How dare we question and challenge our maker!
(Note: If we are unsure of what ‘spitting’ on someone meant in Jesus day see that on His path to the cross…’they spat on him’. (Matt 26:67) Scripture teaches spitting it is associated with mockery, public humiliation, rejection, and disassociating with a violent application. See Job 30:10 ‘ they detest me and keep away from me, they do not hesitate to spit in my face’.)
The real question ought to be – ‘Do ‘we’ love God unconditionally?‘ Sadly the answer is all too often we don’t. We remain as demanding children with entitlement expectations, refusing to mature and grow up. We stomp our feet and connive and demand that Jesus accept our lukewarm, defiled, so-called devotion as we go whoring with the filth of this world’s value system. Furthermore, many actually have the nerve to condemn the consecrated bondservants of Jesus, mocking them because they are intolerant of the spiritual prostitution of loving the things that God hates. We too are guilty of murdering those He sent (figuratively or literally). Remember Jesus words, ‘because you are lukewarm I am about to spew you out of my mouth’ and ‘I hate the deeds of the Nicolatians’. Jesus clearly does not have an issue with love and conditions co-existing.
Unconditional love? Absolutely not! But the choice to be loved is there for all. The consequences of our choices remain yours and mine.
God is solely invested in maturing His sons and daughters into His image. His lavish provision and invitation to walk intimately face to face as His friends is no different today. To the measure we align our will and submit to His Lordship is the measure to which we will enjoy the unfolding discoveries of companionship through life. We are all personally on a plan of being matured; this is the will of God for our lives. Non-optional, cause and effect principles remain the grid we function with in our relationship to our Creator. Suffering and denying the carnal minded lifestyle is but one small part of God’s conditions that Jesus willingly yoked Himself to. It is non-optional for us to consider any other means to pleasing God and experiencing the fullness of the very purpose for which we have come to earth. It was no different for the rich young ruler or the people in the churches of Ephesus or Laodicea and neither can it be for us. There are conditions. But oh the promises and joy set before us!
Jesus, being the exact representation of God, is our blueprint for relationship. Though He loved us, He created us with a free will knowing we could reject Him while at the same time offering us an inheritance in Him. Just as it is for God, our loved ones may reject us but our hearts remain open. We pray they return to right relationship with us by turning away from destructive patterns that break the intimacy of our walking together. The conditions, once met, will open the door. Jesus knocks (offers His exclusive love) on the door of our heart. ‘If any man hear my voice, and open the door (a condition and response, our choice to come alone face to face, uncovered)….THEN I will come into him and we will dine’.
There is in our Father’s heart an expectancy to share His unique, divinely breathed plan of unfathomable joy and discovery with us that we might walk in our birthright. Like our forefathers in the Garden of Eden, we were placed on earth to enjoy exploring the endless gifts God had prepared for us to enjoy. It is His heart to lavishly display our unity with Him and show us off to the principalities and powers of the air. His son, the Captain of our souls saw beyond the pleasures of this world, refusing to yield to the offers of rulership. He instead bowed the knee in obedience to the Father, became Isaiah 53 living prophecy and dined with angels, heaven marking His pathway. He was not alone, nor are we. This was pleasing to God and He was not ashamed to call Him His beloved Son on whom He bestowed the highest honor.
May we open the chambers of our hearts to accept the conditions that empower us to walk with God and enter into the fullness of heaven’s reality. This is ‘God’s’ love.