Bible Reading: Ephesians 2 :4-10
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:9
AT THE END of a church retreat on friendships, people were hugging and crying. Besides the fact that the retreat was all about caring for each other, everyone knew this was their last big event together before the seniors graduated. Kyle walked over to his friend Shane, gulped, and said, “I’ve never told you that I’m glad you’re my friend. But I am.” Simple. Deep. Heartfelt. And nowhere near as slobbery as everything else in the room.
But instead of returning the kind words, Shane snapped. “Get away from me.
What do you want?” Shocked, Kyle answered, “Want? I don’t want anything. What are you talking about?” Shane didn’t reply. He just walked away.
On the bus ride home, Shane sat down by Kyle and apologized. “I’ve been thinking about why I snapped,” he explained. “I’m not used to someone caring about me without wanting something. My parents only tell me they love me when they want me to get better grades or do them a favor.”
If all you have known is love with strings attached, if “I love you” always came with an “if” or a “because,” it can be hard to receive unconditional love from God and others.
Some people respond to God the same way Shane responded to Kyle: “What do you want?” They get suspicious of any kind act because they wonder what the catch is. True, God wants you to love and obey him. But he loves you whether or not you do.
Other people think they need to bargain with God before he will love them. They think, I need to straighten out my life before God can accept me. But God says, “I already accept you just the way you are. I proved it by sending my Son to die for you while you were lost in your sin” (Romans 5:8).
And because God loves you unconditionally, you don’t have to perform perfectly to get God to accept you. Paul wrote, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NN). Your acceptance by God isn’t based on your good deeds or great attitudes or on anything cool you have done for him. He loves you unconditionally because of what he has done.
When God shows you his love, there’s no catch. He really cares.
REFLECT: God loves you unconditionally. What does that mean in your everyday life?
PRAY: Father, your love for me has no strings attached. Thanks.