In the story of the Prodigal Son, I’m always amazed at the father’s loving response to his son’s return. I’m more amazed by his brother’s angry response, who felt their father’s love towards his reckless brother was unfair. But was his brother’s frustration really that foreign to us? His brother thought love was something earned not freely given. Aren’t we guilty of this sometimes too?
The worldly culture we live in supports the belief in earning what we want, bargaining for what we desire, and reading the fine print of deals that seem too good to be true. This often spills into our walk with Christ. When we sin or disobey God, we unconsciously start theorizing what we need to do to get back in good graces with God. We think if we serve more, if we only listen to Christian music, if we read our Bible daily, if we pray harder, then God will love us despite our mistakes. We get stuck in the mentality of “how can I earn God’s love?” instead of asking “how can I receive God’s love?” God does not want us to experience difficulty accepting His love. He wants to extend His love freely to you and I without concern that there are strings attached.
You may be reading this thinking “you don’t know what I’ve done or where I’ve been. There has to be something I have to do before God will love someone like me.” Thankfully, like His undeserved grace, His love is not contingent on our behavior, but on His sacrifice. John 3:16 tells us exactly who was covered by that sacrifice: “God so loved the world... ” John did not write “God so loved those who are perfect” or “those who have never cursed, cheated, or sinned.” God so loved the entire world, and God so loves you! His sacrificed life puts you in right standing with Him--unconditionally. Our prayer is that you will freely receive His love today because it is freely given.
“Our prayer is for you to receive the love that God desires to give you today.
Can you recall the last time you’ve genuinely experienced the love of God? Considering today's readings, take a moment to journal your personal response to the truth of God’s love. Next, take a step further by reflecting God’s love to someone today. Put these truths into action by buying someone a coffee, sending an encouraging text message, or helping someone in need with no strings attached.
Listen: Reckless Love by Cory Asbury