“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
– Galatians 5:6 NIV
How do your parents know that you love them? How do you know that you are loved by your parents? What do you look for in a relationship with a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, brother/sister or extended family member that lets you know, without a doubt, that you are loved, valued and accepted by them for the person you are. That is part of what real love involves.
Real love is unconditional love expressed towards another person, not because they deserve it, earned it, or because they are special, better, well liked, or even because they love you in return. You demonstrate this kind of love, because God first loved you and you want to give that love to someone else willingly, freely as He does to you. Think about your grandparents, or the adult in your life, who, no matter what you do, how bad you’ve been, or wrong you are they still listen, take time to understand, encourage you to do better and they are not afraid to let you know your stuff stinks if they have to!
They don’t demand without loving support, threaten to motivate, criticize harshly consistently, judge without understanding, or treat your feelings as if they are unimportant. They are not perfect, but they are consistent, considerate, and comforting when you talk with them. You feel encouraged, inspired and challenge yourself to do your best for them, because you don’t want to disappoint them. This person motivates you to do your best, put your best foot forward, and inspires you to seek to live in a way that allows the full potential and promise of your person to come alive to be lived out before others. You know you are loved by this kind of person! You don’t question it, guess about it, and neither do you consider whether they ever did, because you’ve always believed it whether they said it or not. You just knew in your heart and you accepted it.
You respect them for their love, support, aid and help they provide you to guide you and teach you what you need to know to help you succeed and achieve in life. Now before you go any further, ask yourself, do I have any people in my life right now whom I call ‘friends’ that demonstrate these qualities consistently? If not, I might consider why I call them friends. There is a friend, though, who sticks closer to you than a brother and will draw out of you all that is in you to become all that He intended for you to be if you are willing to listen to Him as you would those adult influences you have in your life. Let Christ be the friend He seeks to be for you, through prayer and spending time reading the bible, so you may experience the encouragement and endurance He seeks to provide you through His word and by His Spirit. Let your faith in Him express itself through love for Him and others.
May God bless you and help you to grow in the grace and truth of His love to encounter the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.