She said, "I love you." I was surprised. It was awkward and I didn't know what to say. She was a good friend but I was not “in love” with her. I will never forget her response. She said, “My love is a gift. I expect nothing from you.” Wow, that was profound. The unconditional nature of that statement set me free in the relationship. We continued as close friends.

Unconditional love is hard to find, yet everyone wants to experience it. This kind of love is unforgettable when we do find it! It provides deep security in a relationship. Unconditional love is characterized by a willingness to give unselfishly and sacrificially. It springs from the character of the giver and enhances trust.

God is the ultimate source of unconditional love and he can give us the ability to love deeply. "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). It is only as we experience his perfect love and trust in him that we can give the gift of true unconditional love.

Conditional love is based on something external. It has strings attached and sounds like, “I will love you if you are strong or successful or beautiful. I will love you if you fulfil my desires." These conditions can create fear and insecurity in a relationship. What if the thing that motivates love changes?

In contrast, godly love, offered as a gift, creates a soil of deep trust and strength that allows a resilient relationship to blossom and grow.

Father, thank you for your gift of love. I ask for your strength to love others as you love me. Enable me to give the gift of love freely and generously. I confess my inaccuracy and invite your Spirit to produce the fruit of love in my life. Thank you. Amen.

Go Deeper — Does the love you offer God and others have strings attached? Read 1 Corinthians 13.4-7, replacing the word love with God. Read it again and replace the word love with your own name. Rejoice in God's unconditional love and seek to demonstrate it to everyone you meet throughout the day.

Tags: Trust & Obey 1 Corinthians 13
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