Have you ever noticed how worldly love always seems to require a measure of "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours?" If you have me over for dinner this week, I'll have you over for dinner next week kinda thing. Like we all owe one another favors. You do this for me, I will do this for you. If someone brings you a nice piece of cake, then always return the plate with another goodie on it. And on and on. And while this is the definition of Southern hospitality and is even a great principle to live by, is this really love? godly love?
If you notice the Bible talks about people finding favor with God. For some time, I got confused and thought this kind of favor meant favors. As in I needed to earn God's favor. I needed to cover my own sin and be good, and then somehow what I had done for Him would make me find favor with God. As a people pleaser, this had worked for me in the human realm. People like being around people who always do as they please, and that was me. Many biblical men who were found with favor were being "good," so it could be easy to confuse this. But ultimately, God's favor is for unmerited sinners who did not necessarily deserve His favor. He measured their heart and their motives and saw that they were humble, contrite, God-fearing, willing to obey, willing to turn, repentant, and with these, they found favor. But it was with His own desire that He found each one favorable.
For some time, God searched me and found me unfavorable, and I was full of proud, thinking myself good enough to find favor. Why must God's favor pass over me? But I was lacking humility and genuine respect for the Lord, ungrateful for His gifts and graces, and I found the lack of favor humbled me and killed my pride. I needed my Lord. I needed My King to lift me out of the miry pit of self.
God's love is not met with conditions. He loves because He is love. He loves me despite my sin. And perhaps, because of my sin. Because of my need. I need Him, and I can never return the love that He can give.
And I am tired of living the I owe you, you owe me life. I want to love like Jesus. Completely unabashedly love despite the fact that I may not get anything in return. So I am going where God leads me knowing that this love He wants to give may not get me anything in return.