“You bless the godly, O Lord; You surround them with Your shield of love.” (Psalm 5:11-12)
When we say that God’s love is unconditional, it’s important to make sure we understand what “unconditional” does not mean. It does not mean we are left unchanged. In his book, The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis explained this truth:
To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God; because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labor to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities.
In essence, Lewis was restating God’s goal for us, which is expressed in Romans 8:29 – that we will “be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” God’s love is true love because God’s love is at work within us, changing us and conforming us more and more into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. It has been well said that “God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you there.” God is making us more and more lovable with each passing day. God’s love for us is growing and maturing us in our faith and making us more like Jesus in thought, word, deed, and desire. And this is His ultimate goal for every child of God.
Because God wants what is best for us, He refuses to leave us in the condition He found us in. True love takes us from self-absorption to self-sacrifice. True love takes us from self-centeredness to other-orientation. True love takes us from “my will be done” to “Thy will be done.”
Remember, this does not happen in a day, but daily. You are a work in progress, and it will take all the days of your life for True Love to make you perfectly lovable. Let that truth set you free to joyfully, passionately run the race God has set before you.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!