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God loves you. But what does this mean? God is love (1 John 4:16). So, God has to love. He can’t not love. Does He love out of obligation? Is His love involuntary?
We know God cares enough to die for us (John 3:16). He paid the price to redeem us. He is patient with us. He did what He had to do to keep us alive (spiritually).
To say love is a choice is to say that it is objective. You and I can show love despite how we feel about another person. If we only loved when we felt like it, our actions would only be motivated by how others treat us. But here I am talking about human love which can be fickle.
God’s agape is different. It always does right. It flows out of who God is. In that sense, it could be described as involuntary.
Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires.Romans 13:10 TPT
Much of life is starkly unpredictable, so it’s nice that God doesn’t change His mind about loving us.
Is Love More Than a Choice?
When love is a choice, it’s a rational, steady, and dependable love. But there is more to it than that. Love as only a choice is incomplete. Love includes compassion, affection, and favor. Agape is motivated by feeling. But keep in mind that God’s feelings are pure, undefiled by any sin.
The Lord your God is in your midst,Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Subjective, irrational love is at the center of agape. God is not cold, loving only out of obligation. He is passionate and unrelenting. God’s favor, from the core of His being, drives Him to save us no matter the cost.
God’s Love is Irrational
God goes “all in” with His love toward us. This makes it an extravagant love. God’s loving favor doesn’t make sense, but that’s what makes it wonderful.
God doesn’t only do the minimum decent thing to do. He doesn’t save us in compassion and then tell us to go on our way. He adopts us into His family (1 John 3:1; Romans 8:14-30).
God’s family is forever. In Isaiah 49, God’s people felt like Yahweh had abandoned them.
Yahweh responds, “But how could a loving mother forget her nursing child and not deeply love the one she bore? Even if a there is a mother who forgets her child, I could never, no never, forget you.Isaiah 49:15 TPT
God’s affections for you are greater than an imperfect parent.
If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask him?”Matthew 7:11 TPT
God has a strong bond of love with you. He withholds nothing good from you. What can you do today to believe, trust, and feel God’s affection for you?
For God has proved his love by giving us his greatest treasure, the gift of his Son. And since God freely offered him up as the sacrifice for us all, he certainly won’t withhold from us anything else he has to give.Romans 8:32 TPT
So, God loves you. He values you. He saves you. He rejoices because of you. He makes you a co-heir with Christ.
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV
God has many good things in store for you, things too wonderful to fully comprehend today, but things that allow you to experience the fullness of hope as you are filled with God (Ephesians 3:20).
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.