Love Without Conditions or Limits
- Thursday, March 22, 2012
Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Bob Goff's new book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2012).
You know that the greatest action Jesus calls you to is love – to love God, and to love other people. Yet responding to that simple call is often surprisingly difficult. In this fallen world where people often don’t seem loveable and loving actions seem to demand too much time and energy, you may think of many great excuses for limiting your love or placing conditions on it.
But Jesus continues to call you love as He does, without conditions or limits. If you dare to respond to His call, He will empower you to put love in action, no matter what. Here’s how you can love as Jesus does:
Be there. Just as Jesus loved people by actually coming to Earth to be present with them, He calls you to spend time with people rather than just thinking about them, agreeing with them, or talking about how much you love them. So make time to be present with the people you sense God calling you to reach out to, and be willing to sacrifice other pursuits so you can give them your undivided attention when you’re together.
Let go of religion. Don’t try to impress God with religion. Instead, invest your efforts in what God really cares about: simply incorporating love into your life to the fullest extent.
Express your love in audacious ways. Use your God-given creativity to express your love boldly to others, whenever you have an opportunity to do so. Give your love to others freely, with abandon. Enjoy whimsical ways of showing others you love them.
Learn from your failures. When other people reject you or when you fail to reach them with your love, don’t despair. Instead, ask God to show you what He wants you learn from the experience. Don’t give up your efforts to love people to the fullest, even when it costs you a lot to do so, because God promises that it will worth it.
Open doors for others. Express your love for people by doing whatever you can to give other people good opportunities in life – from giving blood to help sick and injured people heal, to helping unemployed people find jobs.
Expect God to use you even you’re broken. Realize that brokenness doesn’t disqualify you from serving God by serving others; in fact, it helps you, because it gives you more compassion for people in need. God will use you in His kingdom work despite and even because of the brokenness in your life. All you need to do is just say “yes” to God in every situation, and rely on the strength that He will give you. Remember that God, who invites you, is much stronger than the obstacles in your life.
Give generously. Make a habit of regularly and generously giving your resources (such as time, talent, energy, and money) to support God’s work on Earth. Your ordinary efforts will change the world in extraordinary ways when you give to express love for God and others. If you’re having trouble giving generously, make sure that you’re deriving your sense of security from your relationship with Jesus, which is unshakeable and will give you the confidence you need to give freely.
Learn how to receive when you’re in need. You can learn just as much about love from graciously receiving help from others when you need it as you can from giving to others in need. Also, God may want to teach others about love by having them help you. So give people opportunities to help you when you could use help, such as during a crisis.
Communicate encouraging words. Ask God to help you use encouraging words whenever you speak and write to others; those words can powerfully convey love to them.
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