Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 2 of “Compelled – Living the Value of Unconditional Love” (LISTEN HERE).
Why is love such a big deal…let alone unconditional love?
In 1943, an American psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow penned and article for the journal Psychology Review entitled, “A Theory of Human Motivation.” In this article he outline what has become known as “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.” The first level is physiological needs (things we need for physical life); the second level is safety needs (feeling secure). The third level hits on our topic: Belonging or love needs (need for relationships and friends).
His theory proposed that we are motivated to fill these needs and the more severe the need is, the more we will risk or do to have that need filled. For example, while your general activity would never steal from someone, if you were starving and didn’t have any money to buy something to eat, you may consider stealing some food to meet that need of your body.
Love is a big deal because God has wired us to be loved and to love. Maslow wasn’t inventing something new for the human being, he was simply putting to pen and paper what God has wired in us. From the beginning God designed humanity to be in loving relationship with him and with each other. Sin broke that, but did not remove the need to be loved.
People will do a lot to feel loved. Kids want their parents love. Young people may be in a relationship with someone simply because that person fills a love void. Gangs in the street, as violent as they can be, are a place where individuals feel belonging and love. Friendships form to meet this need. We play on sports team to find a peer group of love and acceptance. What would you do for love?
This question sets up a dangerous answer.
It implies that I must DO something to earn someone else’s love. It also implies that if I DON’T do the right things, I will lose that person’s love. This conditional arrangement leaves love hanging in the balance and this need to be loved often unfulfilled.
It also leads to our love for others hinging on the conditions we overtly or subconsciously place on it.
In preparing this week’s message, I am convinced what our soul yearns for is UNCONDITIONAL love. We want security in knowing that another’s love is NOT dependent on my performance. We want to know there is “nothing I can do that can make you love me more and nothing I can do that will make me love you less.” We want to know love is unconditional and constant.
To be honest, there are many thoughts floating around in my mind about unconditional love and I look forward to delving deeper into the topic and how unconditional love plays out in our own hearts and its impact as we live to love without conditions.
That being said, the key verse for this value of “Unconditional Love” begins the journey to understand the ONLY place where unconditional love can be found in perfection and the only place FROM which unconditional love can begin to be given to those around us. Unconditional love is grounded in the unconditional love of God.
1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
God chose to love us before we could ever love him. God showed his love for us in Jesus before we could ever show our love for him. God modeled unconditional love for us so we might show unconditional love to others.
Apply: Reflect on the love you receive and give. How is it conditional? How is unconditional?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the unconditional love you have shown to me in Jesus. Use me to show that unconditional love to others. AMEN.