Love Without Strings

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. [Galatians 5:1]

How much do we limit ourselves with a misguided sense of obligation?

Yesterday I wrote about Service Without Strings and a call to love without expecting anything in return. As humans, we tend to put conditions and limits on our love. Even when we really try to remove the strings, I suspect a few always remain. The best we can do is be aware, do our best to remove them, and seek forgiveness when we fail.

AGAPE

I wonder whether I act as though God’s love comes with strings attached.

God doesn’t operate under human constraints. He doesn’t love us because He needs us or wants something from us or because He seeks to control us. I don’t have to earn it, and I couldn’t even if I tried. His love just is; that’s His essence and His nature. God’s love comes with no strings attached.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. [1 John 4:16]

God is love as a noun—He’s perfect, unconditional agape in its purest sense. I wonder if we really get that?

Too frequently, following Jesus carries a stigma of forced compliance, a laundry list of perceived requirements and obligations. But that’s all human legalism. Jesus didn’t call us from one sort of slavery into another. His teaching sets us free by guiding us toward the path for which we were designed.

God’s love is free. It’s a gift of grace. Period. Like any true gift, it’s mine to enjoy. All I need to do is open my hands and accept it. And if I choose to reject the gift, that doesn’t diminish it or make it disappear. It’s still there, waiting for me to unwrap it. But I can’t enjoy the gift and its benefits until I accept it.

GRATITUDE

When someone gives me a gift, I say “Thank you.” I don’t do that because it’s an obligation, I do it because I’m thankful. Expressing gratitude isn’t a requirement, it’s a privilege.

I don’t worship and serve to earn God’s love or because He demands or expects it. I don’t do them to retain God’s approval, to make sure He’s in my corner when I need Him. I do those things from a sense of gratitude.

The sense of guilt and regret that we carry around is not God’s desire. He sent Jesus to free us from all of that. He doesn’t want us to follow Jesus out of some warped compulsion, as though we need to obey the rules to avoid punishment. He doesn’t want reluctant compliance, as though following Him is a required and unwanted burden.

FREEDOM

Jesus had the power of the universe at His fingertips. He was completely free to choose, but He selected the difficult path of obedience. I don’t think He felt compelled or obligated. He chose sacrificial love—no strings attached.

God doesn’t need me to follow His rules, and He certainly doesn’t need me to feel guilty when I fail. We make it too complicated, imposing our own maze of formulas and theologies onto His simple framework.

I believe that God smiles when I follow Jesus because Jesus walked the path to true freedom. That’s what He wants for me, and that’s what He wants for you.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

I’m content to leave it at that.

We will strive to demonstrate God’s love—with no strings attached.

Are you ever tempted to attach strings to God’s love?

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Dixon
Copyright 2009 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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